Humidifier Vs. Air Purifier – Which One Offers The Best Relief for You

Humidifier Vs. Air Purifier

So, if you are reading my Humidifier Vs. Air Purifier article, I am assuming you have just moved into a new home or an apartment and something about the air inside doesn’t seem right, right?


There’s a certain “aroma” you can’t point your finger to, and you can’t actually localize the source, but the air definitely smells different.


Or, you are still in your home, but you have a problem with the air, it just doesn’t smell right?


Actually, the air isn't supposed to smell at all. We all know that, right?


Therefore, this implies that there is a problem.

How To Fix the Problem?

So, what can you do about it? I am sure you had no luck with opening all the windows, otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this post.


Or, you don’t have a problem at all, but simply want to improve the air quality in your home.


Whichever the case is, the question that follows is “Should I use a humidifier or an air purifier?”


Followed by another question “Is there a difference between the two?”


I also had these questions when I moved into our new home.


So, I decided to write this article and help you out with my experience.


Humidifier Vs. Air Purifier – The Differences?

The first thing I was wondering when I started the whole problem with the air and solution situation was “what is the difference between a humidifier and an air purifier? Aren’t they the same thing?”


I mean, I heard about both before, but just assumed that they are sort of the same appliance, only with some small differences. “They both have the same purpose, don’t they?”


But, I was way wrong about that. They are not the same. In fact, they have completely different purposes and the choice actually depends on the problem you have.


So, if you happen to have a problem with bad air, the chances are high that you have mold somewhere. And a humidifier would only make it worse.


Humidifiers are meant to add moisture into the air in areas where the air is too dry and causes health problems.


An air purifier, on the other hand, purifies the air.  It doesn't add or take away moisture, it simply removes the pollutant particles from the air.


So, before making the final choice, make sure you have thoroughly inspected your house, checked all the materials and spots.


This way, you will know what the source of the bad smell is. And you will know which appliance to choose and not make the whole problem even worse.

When to Use an Air Purifier?

Problems that come from air that is infested with mold particles can be extremely serious.


The bad smell in the air is usually an indicator of too much humidity and mold development in certain areas of the home.


To get rid of the symptoms such as allergies, coughing, and the overall smell of the air, you would need an air purifier.




But, keep in mind that it will help you with the symptoms, not the cause of those symptoms.


If your home has mold, the air is too humid and the purifier can’t help you get rid of the humidity and the mold.


It will clean the air, make it normal and healthy, but it won’t remove the mold spots.


For that, you need to consider some dehumidifying techniques, and if you want a natural way, I recommend reading my How to remove humidity without a dehumidifier guide.


Also, pollen allergies. The air purifier will take care of the pollen, but I personally think that a humidifier does a better job, and I will explain that in the following section.

When To Use A Humidifier

When it comes to a humidifier, you will definitely know when to use it.


It is easy to figure out when the air in your home is too dry. If you are not sure, here is one of my posts that will help you in determining the humidity levels in your home without an expensive tool.


Unless you live in a region where the dry air is a constant problem, you will have this issue just during the winter.


The air is already dry outside, and when the heating kicks in, it only becomes dryer.


This, for most people, is a problem.

Why is Dry Air a Problem?

Dry air will cause a plethora of health issues, in most cases, first with your kids.


For example, they will suffer from a sleep disorder because their nasal passages will dry out and inflame.


This will then turn into a nasal congestion and then they won’t be able to breathe properly.


And, that means they will wake up several times during the night.


Furthermore, dry air causes skin dehydration. And, that leads to dry skin, eczema breakouts, and an overall unpleasant feeling in your own skin.

A Few More Things a Humidifier is Great for

As I mentioned above, when it comes to pollen allergies, both the air purifier and the humidifier will get the job done. However, my personal opinion is that the humidifier does a better job.


Why? Well, for starters, the air purifier can’t actually “suck in” the air from all the parts of the room.


Thus, there will be some amount of pollen floating in the air still.


So, why is the humidifier a better pollen cleaner?


Well, it fills up the room (entire room) with humidity. And, once the pollen is soaked with tiny water particles from the air, it becomes heavier and drops instead of floating in the air.


Therefore, as long as you humidify the room well, you will get rid of all the pollen.


Can you Combine Them?


In general, you can, because neither of them has some side-effects when it comes to health.


But, it all depends on the conditions you are in.


I mean, you can use a humidifier to moisturize the air and, for example, calm down nasal inflammations, while having the air purifier at the same time to clean the air.


But, if you already have high humidity in your home, then using a humidifier would do more damage than harm.


On the other hand, an air purifier can't do any damage. But, for certain health issues, the purifier simply doesn't do what's needed and you are just wasting the energy.

What do I Think?


My recommendation? Combine both if you live in areas where it's always hot (desert climates).


You most likely have dust and dirt issues, and the high temperature combined with dry air.


In this situation, you will benefit from having both appliances run at the same time, or using a model that has both in one.


Or, if you live in an area where the "spring and summer are eternal" and there's pretty much pollen all the time, you would definitely benefit from both the humidifier and the air purifier.


Humidifier Vs. Air Purifier - Which Ones is Better for Sinus Problems?

Okay, this is where I had the biggest problem before - Sinuses.


I've been suffering from sinus inflammations for years. The doctors gave up the antibiotics and recommended surgery.


But, that would only give me a year and a half to two years of relief, and after that, I would have to go under the knife again.


Naturally, I didn't like that idea.


However, after hours and hours of Googling, I was onto something.


It came down to using either a humidifier or an air purifier.


"But which one is more effective?", you are probably wondering.


I will break it down for you.

Air Purifier


An air purifier will help you with your sinus problems, that is certain.


But, is it more effective than a humidifier? Hardly...


The air purifier removes all the unwanted particles from the air in your home (pollen and dust being the biggest problems).


This will help you while you are indoors, but as soon as you go out.


The allergic reaction will come back and you will have problems even when you get back home where the air is clean of allergens.


So, in conclusion, when it comes to sinuses and allergic reactions, the air purifier can help you. But, only if you stay inside your home all the time during the allergy seasons.


Which, you have to agree, is rather impossible...



When it comes to humidifiers and sinus problems, the best way you can help yourself get rid of congestion that come with this condition is to crank the humidifier to max settings and let the vapor do its magic!

Sinus problems in most cases cause nasal congestions that cause pressure buildup, which further causes splitting headaches.

But, if there’s enough humidity in the air you breathe, your nasal passages will become… well, more slippery, and clear of all the secretions.

This will allow much better air circulation in your sinuses, dry them out, and if you add a few drops of medication, inflammation will be reduced and your recovery times will drastically improve.

As for allergic reactions to pollen, a humidifier will take care of that as well because it will make the pollen particles soaked and heavy, thus unable to fly through the air of your home.

But, just like with the air purifier, this will only keep you safe while inside your home and not when you are out where the pollen roams freely through the air.
And, humidifiers are great for the winter.

Believe me, I had horrible headaches each winter when the air becomes dry and cold, and a humidifier (warm vapor) helped me go through my least favorite season.

I managed to get by without a single headache, or they stopped as soon as I got back home where the air is warm and humid.

Humidifier Vs. Air Purifier - Which One is Better for Asthma?

Dreadful asthma… caused by air that is rich with allergens and pollutants.


So, which of the two appliances we are talking about offers more relief?


On first thought, it seems that the air purifier has the advantage since it purifies the air and takes away the causes of the asthma onset.


By doing so, you will be able to eliminate your asthma outbreaks at least inside your home.


However, we must not forget that each person reacts differently when having an asthma attack.


But, one thing is in common for everyone – the nasal passages are drying out often.


This means that you need to add moisture so that the attacks are less frequent and milder.


So, the bottom line, if you want to have a relief from asthma, it would be better to have both appliances.


The air purifier would get rid of the cause, while the humidifier would also minimize the allergens.


It would make them too heavy to freely fly through the air, but also offer relief from the asthma symptoms.

Humidifier Vs. Air Purifier - Which One is Better for Babies?

When it comes to babies, I would recommend having both!


In my case, I tend to use the air purifier more throughout the year as there's no need to add moisture into the air of our home all the time.


But, when the Winter starts, and the heating dries out the air, then Both the Humidifier and the Air purifier are working around the clock.


I found that during my first child's few months, while she was still cleaning her lungs from the amniotic fluid and adjusting to life outside the womb itself, a humidifier offered more relief.


Before we started using the humidifier in her room, she had nasal congestion which kept her from sleeping through the night.


But, after just one night of a working humidifier, the moisture in the air helped her clean her nasal passages, and every other night after was a blessing.


Don't get me wrong, the air purifier is also a must when you have babies, but in the beginning, at least, the humidifier will be much more of help than the air purifier.


Humidifier Vs. Air Purifier - Final Conclusion

In the end, there isn't a clear winner because they both do a great job for what they are meant for.


But, the humidifier might have an advantage because besides "clearing" the air from pollutants, it also offers relief for nasal passages and lungs.


Though, it can't be used in situations where the air is already at a high humidity level.


So, the choice it might come down to the price...


In my personal opinion, the humidifiers have a huge advantage in this area as they are much cheaper.


On average, you can find a great humidifier for under $100, which cannot be said for the air purifiers as their prices go well over that range.


But, as I said, it all comes down to what you need the appliance for...


They will both help with clearing out the allergens from the air but not all of you need additional moisture, right?


In case you live in an area where the air is already humid enough on its own, a humidifier will be useless or even make more damage than benefits.


On the other hand, if live in an area that has harsh winters, you would benefit more from a humidifier...


The best solution would be getting a model that has both, but they are the most expensive option.


Okay, now it's your turn to talk  🙂


What are your thoughts on this topic?


Do you have any experience with any or both?


If so, which one do you prefer?