What is an Air Ionizer? Are ionizers good for you?

Some air purifiers don’t have the common True HEPA filter, instead they will use an ionizer to support the physical air filter, or work as the only air filtration method alone. An air ionizer is a device that uses high voltage electricity to create negative ions and electrically charge the air molecules.

In real-world use, the air ionizer is one important air filtration being used in the air purifiers. However, are ionizers good for you? Do air ionizers really work, especially against smoke, smells and odors? You have read a lot of review about the air ionizer being bad and dangerous, and need a trusted source to buy your air ionizer.

Okay!

In Breathe Quality, we know all your problems of indoor air quality and air purifiers. We know that you need the best air purifier to improve your quality of life. We are the experts in the field of air purifiers, but more than that, we are just like you, a human. We also have serious problems with airborne allergies and asthma, and we know your struggle to learn the air purifier, and put an end to your misery. Today, you will know everything about the air ionizer in our in-depth guide.

If you have concerned about other air filter types as well, we hope that the below guides can help you.

1, True HEPA filter.

2, Activated Carbon filter.

3, UV-C light filter.

4, PlasmaWave.

Now, we will find out if the air ionizer do really work, and answer the most important question: “Are air ionizers safe?”

What is an ionizer?

Air ionizer (also known as the ionic filter, or ion generator) is one of the most popular air filters being used by the air purifiers. Instead of using the fan to pull in the polluted air into a physical air filter, the standalone air ionizer uses the electricity to emit the cloud of negative ions (or anions) to electrically charge the air molecules. As a result, the negative ions charges and attracts the airborne particles to fall onto the nearby either charged collector plate or mechanical air filter, or simply the nearest walls and ceilings.

Unlike the True HEPA filter, which is capable of dealing with 99.97% of all particles down to 0.3 microns in size, the air ionizer can reduce the size of the allergens to as small as 0.1 microns. Microns, which are one-millionth of a meter, are how particles are measured. To help you know the size of a micron, we are unable to visually see anything less than 10 microns. Also, the sizes of particles as dust, pollen bacteria, virus and many more are as below.

ParticleParticle Size
Atmospheric Dust0.001 – 40
Bacteria0.3 – 60
Beach Sand100 – 10000
Burning Wood0.2 – 3
Cement Dust3 – 100
Clay, fine0.5 – 1
Coal Dust1 – 100
Combustion0.01 – 0.1
Dust Mites100 – 300
Fly Ash1 – 1000
Grain Dusts5 – 1000
Household dust0.05 – 100
Human Hair40 – 300
Insecticide Dusts0.5 – 10
Lead Dust0.1 – 0.7
Mold Spores10 – 30
Pet Dander0.5 – 100
Pollen10 – 1000
Smoke0.01 – 0.1
Tobacco Smoke0.01 – 4
Viruses0.005 – 0.3

In our list of the best air purifiers, we have the Rabbit Air MinusA2, Coway AP-1512HH, Alen BreatheSmart 75i and Blueair Classic 480i to have an additional air ionizer to support the powerful True HEPA filter.

Some ionizers are working in another method, just like the PlasmaWave technology of Winix, or Plasmacluster of Sharp.

Are ionizers good for you?

The answer is not clearly yes or no. In short, the air ionizer is really great for you if it meets the standard of California Air Resources Board (CARB) to only have ozone emission concentration less than 0.05 parts per million (ppm). Otherwise, the air ionizers may be dangerous for your health.

The air ionizer plays an important role in the air purifier industry, as you can maintain the air ionizer without the annual filter replacement and still get the best result of air filtration. In fact, the ionizer is one of the most effective filtration mechanisms, especially when it combines with a physical HEPA filter.

However, when the ionizer purifies the air, it also creates the ionized air and we humans don’t normally breathe this type of air in our lungs. Moreover, the charged ions will produce an amount of ozone, which is unwanted. Though the air ionizer is not a type of ozone generator, the amount of ozone from your air ionizer can irritate asthma or many other breathing issues. If you don’t know, or if you experience the side effect from using an air ionizer, you should turn this ionic function off as soon as possible.

To help you learn which air purifier is certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to be safe to use, even with or without the air ionizer, you should check this California Certified Air Cleaning Devices. Or else, you only need to read our air purifier reviews to see if you can trust in one air purifier or not. Below are some air purifiers with ionic feature, and is certified by CARB to be safe.

What is the difference between air purifier and ionizer?

There are many differences between one classic air purifier and one pure air ionizer. You should see this table to know how to differentiate them.

Classic air purifiersAir purifiers with ionic featureAir ionizers
FanYesYesNo
Annual filter replacementYesMaybeNo
Power ConsumptionNormalHigherVery high
SoundSilent at low speedHighestInevitable noise
PerformanceHighHighRandom

List of best air purifiers in 2019

Pros & Cons of Ionizer

We have learned everything about the ionizer, but you still don’t know if this air filter is flawless or not. Below is the pros/cons of the ionizer.

PROS
  • Maintenance free, without filter replacement
  • Great performance, can even remove some bacteria and viruses
CONS
  • Small amounts of ozone as a byproduct which can irritate asthma and respiratory issues
  • Doesn’t remove odors and smell
  • Higher power consumption
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