Air Purifier Vs Air Scrubber – What’s the Difference in 2024

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Are you tired of breathing in polluted air and want to find the perfect solution to improve the air quality in your space? Well, the choice between an air purifier vs air scrubber can be quite daunting.

But fear not! In this article, we will explore the key differences between these two air cleaning devices and help you make an informed decision.

From understanding their purposes and functions to comparing their effectiveness on mold and targeted contaminants, we’ve got you covered.

So, if you’re ready to breathe in clean and fresh air again, let’s dive into the world of air purifiers and air scrubbers to find the perfect fit for your needs.

Purpose and Function

Air purifiers and air scrubbers have distinct purposes and functions in improving indoor air quality.

An air purifier is designed to remove pollutants from the air, such as dust, pet dander, and allergens. It uses a filter, such as a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, to trap these particles and provide cleaner air for you to breathe. Air purifiers are commonly used in homes, offices, and healthcare facilities to reduce allergies and improve overall air quality.

On the other hand, an air scrubber is specifically designed to target larger particles and contaminants. It’s often used in construction sites, industrial areas, and during water damage restoration projects. Air scrubbers work by drawing in air and passing it through a series of filters to remove harmful particles like construction dust, mold spores, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These filters are typically more heavy-duty than those used in air purifiers to handle larger particles and higher levels of contamination.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Air Purifier

LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Allergies Pets Hair in Bedroom, Covers Up to 1095 ft² by 45W High Torque Motor, 3-in-1 Filter with HEPA sleep mode, Remove Dust Smoke Pollutants Odor, Core300-P, White

Levoit Vital 200-S Smart Air Purifier

Exceptional filtration performance.

Multiple filter choices.

Whisper-quiet operation and sleek design.

Best Overall Air Scrubber

VEVOR Air Scrubber with 3-Stage Filtration, Stackable Negative Air Machine 550 CFM, Air Cleaner with MERV10, Carbon, H13 HEPA, for Home, Industrial and Commercial Use

VEVOR Air Scrubber

Three-stage filtration system.

High-efficiency copper motor.

User-Friendly control panel

Levoit Core 300-P Air Purifier

Reasons to Buy

Reason #1 – Exceptional filtration performance with a 99.97% efficiency for ultrafine particles.

Reason #2 – Multiple filter choices for different air quality concerns.

Reason #3 – Whisper-quiet operation and sleek design.

Reasons to Avoid

Reason #1 – Replacement filters may be more expensive compared to off-brand options.

For those seeking the best overall air purification solution, the Levoit Core 300-P Air Purifier stands out with its exceptional filtration performance and sleek design. With a powerful 45W long-life high-torque motor, this purifier is capable of purifying the air in a 1,095 ft² space once per hour.

The Levoit Original Filter, which is HEPA-grade, has been tested by an independent lab and has a 99.97% filtration efficiency for ultrafine particles as small as 0.1~0.3μm, including allergens like pollen, dust, and animal dander. The Core 300-P also offers multiple filter choices, such as the Toxin Absorber Filter for smog and toxins, the Smoke Remover filter for wildfire smoke, and the Pet Allergy Filter for capturing pet dander and unpleasant odors.

Additionally, with its whisper-quiet operation and sleek design, the Core 300-P is a perfect fit for any home or bedroom.

Best For: Those who want a powerful and efficient air purifier for large spaces, with multiple filter options for specific needs.

Product Dimensions8.7″D x 8.7″W x 14.2″H
Floor Area1095 Square Feet
Specification MetEnergy Star Certified, ETL Certified, CARB Certified, EPA Certified
Noise Level24 dB
Particle Retention Size0.3 Micron
Controller TypeTouch
Wattage45 watts
Item Weight7.48 pounds

VEVOR Air Scrubber

Reasons to Buy

Reason #1 – Three-stage filtration system captures 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.

Reason #2 – High-efficiency copper motor provides a maximum airflow of 550 CFM.

Reason #3 – User-friendly control panel allows for easy operation and filter replacement reminder.

Reasons to Avoid

Reason #1 – May not be suitable for larger industrial areas or water damage restoration projects.

The VEVOR Air Scrubber is the best choice for those seeking a highly efficient and user-friendly air purification solution. With its three-stage filtration system, including a pre-filter, carbon filter, and H13 HEPA filter, this air scrubber effectively clears dust, pollen, smoke, and odors, while capturing 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. It quickly improves indoor air quality, creating a more pleasant living environment.

The air purifier’s high-efficiency copper motor provides a maximum airflow of 550 CFM (adjustable) and a filtration area of 2150 cubic feet, ensuring that the entire room benefits from cleaner air. The user-friendly control panel allows for easy operation, with features such as adjustable airflow range, resettable timer, and an indicator light for filter replacement. Additionally, this plug-and-play air scrubber weighs only 35 pounds and is widely used in various settings, making it a versatile and convenient choice.

Best For: Those looking for a highly efficient and user-friendly air purification solution.

Product Dimensions24.2″D x 23.5″W x 15.9″H
Controller TypeButton Control
Item Weight33.1 pounds

History and Evolution

The evolution of air purifiers and air scrubbers has been driven by the need for improved indoor air quality in various industries and environments. Over time, these devices have undergone significant advancements in filtration technology to effectively remove airborne contaminants and improve air quality.

Air purifiers, also known as air cleaners, have been developed to target specific pollutants such as dust, pet dander, and odors. They utilize air filters, with HEPA filters being a common choice, to capture and trap these particles. With the addition of activated carbon filters, air purifiers can also adsorb gases like cigarette smoke, further enhancing their air purification capabilities. These devices have found widespread use in commercial and industrial applications.

On the other hand, air scrubbers have a different history and purpose. The term ‘scrubber’ originated from the use of a liquid to wash pollutants from the air. Initially, air scrubbers were primarily used in submarines to remove gases. They can be categorized into wet scrubbers, which use water as the scrubbing liquid, and dry scrubbers, which use fabric or mechanical filters. Dry scrubbers are commonly employed in construction sites, industrial areas, and water damage restoration projects to target larger particles like construction dust and mold spores.

Differences in Targeted Contaminants

With their different purposes and historical origins in mind, it’s important to understand the differences in targeted contaminants when comparing air purifiers and air scrubbers. Here are the key differences:

  1. Air Purifiers: These devices are designed to remove fine airborne particles, such as dust, pollen, and allergens, from the air. They use a filtration system, typically including a HEPA filter, to capture and trap these particles, improving indoor air quality.
  2. Air Scrubbers: Unlike air purifiers, air scrubbers are specifically designed to target larger particles like construction dust, mold spores, and industrial pollutants. They’re commonly used in construction sites, industrial areas, and water damage restoration projects.
  3. Pollutants: Air purifiers primarily focus on removing airborne pollutants, while air scrubbers are effective in eliminating gases, chemicals, and odors. This makes air scrubbers suitable for removing industrial emissions and odors in commercial settings.
  4. Industry Application: Air purifiers are commonly used in homes and smaller settings, while air scrubbers are preferred for larger commercial buildings and industrial-scale purposes. Additionally, air scrubbers tend to be more expensive due to their specialized application.

Understanding these differences in targeted contaminants is crucial for selecting the right air cleaning solution for your specific needs. Whether you’re looking to improve indoor air quality in your home or tackle pollutants in an industrial environment, choosing the appropriate device will ensure effective and efficient air purification.

HEPA Filter Technology


HEPA filter technology is an effective method for removing fine airborne particles in air scrubbers. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, and it refers to a type of air filter that’s capable of capturing 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. This makes HEPA filters highly efficient in removing dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and other allergens from the air.

Air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters have become increasingly popular in homes and offices as they provide a reliable solution for improving indoor air quality. These air purifiers use HEPA filter technology to trap and retain particles, ensuring cleaner and healthier air for you and your family. They’re especially beneficial for individuals with allergies or asthma.

Air scrubbers, on the other hand, also utilize HEPA filter technology but are designed for different purposes. The primary function of air scrubbers is to remove larger particles like construction dust and mold spores from the air. They’re commonly used in construction sites, industrial areas, and water damage restoration projects to maintain a clean and safe working environment.

Negative Air Machines

After discussing the effectiveness of HEPA filter technology in improving air quality, let’s now explore the role of negative air machines in maintaining clean and safe environments.

Negative air machines, also known as air scrubbers, play a crucial role in capturing and eliminating airborne particles, making them essential for maintaining good indoor air quality. Here are four key points to understand about negative air machines:

  1. Contaminant Containment: Negative air machines create negative pressure in a room, which keeps contaminated air contained and prevents it from escaping. This helps to prevent the spread of air pollutants and ensures a clean and safe environment.
  2. Air Flow: These machines leverage the principle of air flowing from high to low pressure areas. As a result, they effectively remove gases and contaminants from the air, purifying it and improving air quality.
  3. Application Areas: Negative air machines are commonly used in industrial settings, construction sites, and areas requiring mold remediation. They’re particularly effective in capturing larger particles like construction dust and mold spores.
  4. HVAC System Integration: Negative air machines can be integrated into the existing HVAC system to enhance air purification. This integration ensures that the entire space benefits from the removal of pollutants and particulate matter.

Smoke and Odor Removal

To effectively remove smoke and odors from the air, consider utilizing air purifiers or air scrubbers, depending on your specific needs and industry. Both options can help improve air quality by removing pollutants and contaminants from the air.

An air purifier is an excellent choice for smoke and odor removal in domestic or commercial settings. These devices work by filtering the air particles and trapping them in a high-efficiency filter. The filters in air purifiers are specifically designed to capture smoke particles and eliminate unpleasant odors, leaving you with clean and fresh air. Air purifiers are also beneficial for people with respiratory conditions or allergies as they can remove allergens and irritants from the air.

On the other hand, if you’re dealing with smoke and odor issues in larger areas or industrial settings, an air scrubber may be a more suitable option. Air scrubbers use a combination of filters and a powerful fan to clean the air. These devices are effective in removing larger particles like smoke and odor molecules. Air scrubbers are commonly used in construction sites, water damage restoration projects, and industrial areas where contaminated air needs to be purified.

Choosing the Best Air Scrubber

When selecting the ideal air scrubber, consider factors such as filter life, power consumption, noise level, customer ratings, warranty, and additional features like automatic shut-off and timer functions.

Here are four key factors to keep in mind when choosing the best air scrubber:

  1. Filter Life: Look for an air scrubber with a long filter life to minimize maintenance needs and costs. This ensures that the unit can effectively clean the air for an extended period.
  2. Power Consumption: Opt for an air scrubber with low power consumption to save on energy costs. Energy-efficient models aren’t only environmentally friendly but also cost-effective in the long run.
  3. Noise Level: Consider the noise level of the air scrubber, especially if you plan to use it in a residential or office setting. Look for models that operate quietly to avoid disturbances.
  4. Customer Ratings: Read customer reviews and ratings to get an idea of the air scrubber’s performance, reliability, and customer satisfaction. This can help you make an informed decision based on real-life experiences.

Effectiveness on Mold

Air scrubbers, particularly those equipped with HEPA filters, are highly effective at capturing and eliminating mold and bacteria particles from the air. Mold is a common indoor air pollutant that can lead to various health issues, including allergies, respiratory problems, and even infections.

Air scrubbers work by pulling in the contaminated air and passing it through a series of filters that are specifically designed to trap and remove pollutants such as mold spores. The HEPA filters used in air scrubbers have a high efficiency rate, which means they can capture tiny particles as small as 0.3 microns. This filtration process ensures that the air being circulated back into the room is free from mold spores and other harmful toxins.

In contrast, while air purifiers, especially those with HEPA filters, can also effectively remove mold spores and improve indoor air quality, they may not be as efficient as air scrubbers when it comes to capturing larger particles like mold and bacteria.

Therefore, if you’re dealing with a mold-infested environment or need to remove a significant amount of mold spores, an air scrubber with HEPA filters would be the more suitable choice for effective air purification.

Ozone Production Concerns

Ozone production can be a significant concern when using certain air purification technologies. It’s important to consider the potential ozone production when using air purification systems, especially ozone generators, to ensure the safety and well-being of occupants. Here are four key points to keep in mind regarding ozone production concerns:

  1. Ozone generators: These are used exclusively for commercial purposes and can effectively remove smoke and odors. However, they shouldn’t be used when people or pets are present due to their lung irritant effects.
  2. Health effects: Ozone generators should be used with caution as they can produce ozone, which can have negative health effects when inhaled. Ozone is a lung irritant and can be harmful to human health.
  3. Portable air scrubbers: Some portable air scrubbers, also known as smoke eaters, use ozone technology. This can create concerns about ozone production and its potential health impacts. It’s important to weigh the benefits against the risks when considering these devices.
  4. Safety first: When choosing between an air purifier and an air scrubber, consider the specific needs of your environment. If you’re concerned about ozone production, opt for an air purifier with advanced filtration technology, such as UV light or HEPA filters. Ensure that the air purification system you choose is suitable for your space, whether it’s a portable air purifier or an HVAC-integrated solution.

Applications and Uses

Air scrubbers and air purifiers have different applications and uses depending on the specific needs and industry.

An air purifier is designed to improve indoor air quality by removing pollutants and toxins from the air. It’s commonly used in commercial and industrial settings, such as offices, hospitals, and manufacturing facilities, where cleaner air is essential for the well-being of employees and customers. A commercial air purifier with advanced filter-based technologies, like HEPA filters, is effective in capturing small particles, allergens, and even bacteria and viruses. Additionally, portable air purifiers can be used in smaller spaces, such as bedrooms or living rooms, to create a healthier environment for individuals with respiratory issues or allergies.

On the other hand, an air scrubber is primarily used in industrial applications, construction sites, and water damage restoration projects. It’s designed to target larger particles, such as construction dust and mold spores, and to remove gases and chemicals from the air. Air scrubbers are often used in submarines, industrial spaces, and areas where there are high levels of airborne contaminants. These portable units, also known as smoke eaters, utilize ozone technology to effectively remove smoke and odors. However, it’s important to exercise caution with ozone as it can be harmful to humans and pets.

Comparing Air Scrubber and Air Purifier Products

When comparing air scrubber and air purifier products, it’s important to consider factors such as cost, coverage area, noise level, power consumption, filter life, customer ratings, and additional features. To make an informed decision on the right air purification solution for your needs, here are four key points to consider:

  1. Cost: Air scrubbers tend to be more expensive upfront due to their advanced filtration technology and larger coverage area capabilities. Air purifiers, on the other hand, come in a range of prices depending on their features and brand.
  2. Coverage area: Air scrubbers are designed to handle larger spaces such as construction sites or industrial areas, while air purifiers are suitable for smaller areas like homes, offices, or commercial environments.
  3. Noise level: Air scrubbers generally produce more noise due to their powerful filtration systems, making them better suited for outdoor or industrial use. Air purifiers, on the other hand, are designed to operate quietly for indoor use.
  4. Power consumption: Air scrubbers typically require more power to operate due to their high-performance motors and larger coverage area capabilities. Air purifiers, especially those with energy-saving features, are more energy-efficient and cost-effective in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions: Air Purifier vs Air Scrubber

What is the difference between an air purifier and an air scrubber?

An air purifier and an air scrubber are both used for air filtration, but they serve slightly different purposes. An air purifier is designed to clean the air by removing air pollution and particles, while an air scrubber focuses on improving the overall air quality and is commonly used for indoor air pollution.

How do air scrubbers and air purifiers differ in their effectiveness?

The difference between an air scrubber and an air purifier lies in their mechanisms. While air purifiers are designed to purify the air, air scrubbers are more effective at removing pollutants and contaminants from the air. Additionally, air scrubbers are also available as an HVAC air solution, providing comprehensive air quality improvement.

What’s the primary difference between air scrubbers and air purifiers?

The main differences between air scrubbing and air purification lie in their objectives. While air purifiers are primarily designed to purify the air by removing impurities, air scrubbers are better at targeting and eliminating air pollutants and particles, making them a better air quality solution.

Is an air scrubber better than an air purifier for indoor air pollution?

Air scrubbers are considered to be better than air purifiers when it comes to addressing indoor air pollution. They are highly effective at removing contaminants and improving overall air quality, making them an ideal choice for combating indoor air pollution.

How does an air scrubber differ from a room air purifier?

An air scrubber is a larger, industrial-grade device used to filter and purify the air in large spaces, such as construction sites or hospitals, by removing dust, particles, and contaminants. On the other hand, a room air purifier is a smaller, portable device designed for residential use to primarily filter and purify the air in a single room, removing allergens, odors, and pollutants.

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Ira Njoroge

Hey, I’m Ira Njoroge, the founder of MySpaceAffair. Early on in my life, I had a passion to embark on a mission to create a cleaner, and more organized household. With a bachelor's degree in engineering after graduating from the University of Maryland in 2015 and seven years as a General Contractor and professional cleaner, on top of my DIY Enthusiasm. I saw the need for a reliable information source for homeowners. My passion, diligence, experience, and hired professionals confirms the reliability of all the advice given in My Space Affair and I hope to provide you all with reliable and thorough content!