Air purifiers vs dehumidifiers: Uses and differences

Air purifiers and dehumidifiers are common household tools that can be seen in many Australian homes. In this blog post, we explain the differences between dehumidifiers and air purifiers, some similarities, what they’re used for and which one you need for your home.

Air purifiers vs dehumidifiers

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Air purifiers and dehumidifiers are often seen in many houses and are everyday products sold in appliance stores. Both an air purifier and a dehmidifier tend to look similar and, at the end of the day, serve a similar purpose: to improve air quality.

A stark difference between the an air purifier and a dehumidifier is the way in which they work to improve air quality. Generally, air purifiers work by removing indoor air pollutants, including pet dander, pollen, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and more.

Dehumidifiers, on the other hand, improve indoor air quality by removing extra moisture in the air, which helps create a comfortable environment and prevents the growth of mould, mildew and other harmful allergens.

Below are in-depth explanations of how these devices from Ionmax work, their benefits and when you would need to use these products.

How do air purifiers work?

Air purifiers are designed to improve indoor air quality by removing various airborne pollutants and contaminants. By drawing in air from the environment, the air passes through a set of filters and releases clean, purified air back into the living space.

Ionmax air purifiers utilise multiple filtration methods that include different filters, including a pre-filter for dust, the all-important HEPA filter for all contaminants and particles as small as 0.3 microns, an activated carbon filter for neutralising odours, UV-C technology to inactivate viruses trapped within the unit’s filter and also negative ionisers to freshen up the air.

Benefits of an air purifier

By trapping indoor air pollutants and reintroducing cleaner air into the environment, the following benefits are created:

  • Reduced odours: Air purifiers equipped with titanium dioxide filters or activated carbon filters are able to remove and neutralise odours produced from cooking, cigarettes and other pollutants.
  • Allergy and asthma relief: By removing allergens, common allergies and asthma triggers are eliminated.
  • Better sleep: Cleaner air leads to improved sleep quality.
  • Protection against secondhand smoke: Air purifiers help reduce exposure to secondhand smoke by removing smoke particles from the air.
  • Enhanced lung health: Cleaner air is beneficial to the lungs, especially for individuals with respiratory conditions.

By removing these indoor pollutants from the air, our body is protected from the dangers and threats that are posed by them, which could potentially reduce the number of illnesses contracted, allowing us to enjoy an overall better quality of life.

How do dehumidifiers work?

Dehumidifiers work by using different technologies to extract moisture from the air. Compressor dehumidifiers use a refrigeration cycle to cool and condense humid air. Desiccant dehumidifiers use a moisture-absorbing material known as a desiccant to remove humidity.

Ionmax desiccant dehumidifiers utilise zeolite technology to extract excess moisture from the air. Zeolites are natural minerals known for their high adsorption capacity, meaning they can hold onto water molecules.

Here’s how the process works:

  1. Humid indoor air is drawn into the unit and passes through the spinning desiccant rotor.
  2. Moisture from the air is adsorbed by the desiccants, and dry air is blown into the indoor environment.
  3. Another stream of air is heated up and passes through the spinning wheel
  4. This heated air removes moisture stored in the desiccant.
  5. Heat is produced from this process, which will, in turn, increase the surrounding temperature by up to 2-3°C.

    READ MORE: How desiccant dehumidifiers work

    READ MORE: How compressor dehumidifiers work

    Benefits of a dehumidifier

    The main benefit and function of a dehumidifier is to remove excess moisture from the to create a more comfortable indoor environment. By removing excess moisture from the air, the following benefits are created:

    • Preventing mould and mildew: Mould and mildew thrive in areas that have high levels of humidity. By lowering humidity levels, mould cannot grow and spread.
    • Allergy and asthma relief: Lowering humidity levels can stop the spread of dust mites and mould spores, which are common allergy triggers for those living with asthma.
    • Quick drying of laundry: Ionmax dehumidifiers usually have a built-in laundry mode setting, which can help speed up the laundry process.
    • Mitigate the presence of pests: Just like mould, pests also thrive in humid environments. Lowering humidity discourages dust mites, cockroaches and other insects from staying in your home.
    • Preservation of wooden furniture: Wood is sensitive to changes in moisture content. Excessive humidity can lead to swelling, warping, and other forms of wood damage.

    Dehumidifiers play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy and comfortable indoor environment and prevent the negative effects of excess moisture.

    Air purifiers vs dehumidifiers: similarities between air purifiers and dehumidifiers

    It’s established that both machines are used to improve air quality and comfort. Still, they serve different primary purposes: air purifiers for airborne particle removal and dehumidifiers for humidity control.

    However, both machines can help in the following.

    • Allergen reduction: By design, air purifiers remove particles and allergens, and some dehumidifiers, including ones from Ionmax, are fitted with an antibacterial air filter that can help in eliminating allergens from the air, especially dust, hair and other large particles.
    • Mould prevention: Dehumidifiers stop the spread of mould by creating an environment that is unconducive to their growth. Air purifiers stop their spread by trapping airborne mould spores and preventing them from recirculating in the air.
    • Odour control: Ionmax air purifiers are equipped with activated carbon filters to remove odours from pets, cooking and smoke, whereas dehumidifiers can reduce musty odours associated with dampness and high humidity.

    It's important to recognise that air purifiers and dehumidifiers have distinct primary features. Although some functions like the ones above are common amongst both tools, some of these functions are better performed by one of the two.

    For example, despite both machines being able to prevent the spread of mould, dehumidifiers are better at doing this as they create an environment where mould cannot grow instead of simply removing their spores from the air like air purifiers do.

    What to consider when choosing a dehumidifier?

    When choosing a dehumidifier, it’s important to consider how humid and damp the area is. The more moisture to be removed, the more powerful the dehumidifier should be. This is displayed by the dehumidifier’s extraction rate. The more humid the unit is, the higher the extraction rate should be.

    Another common factor to be considered is the unit’s coverage area. Ionmax dehumidifiers will display their coverage area within the specifications to help ease a customer’s buying journey.

    Lastly, do also consider the climate of the area in which you live. Compressor dehumidifiers work best in warmer climates, while desiccant dehumidifiers are efficient all year long.

    In a nutshell, below are four factors to consider when choosing a dehumidifier:

    1. Extraction rate of the dehumidifier
    2. How humid or damp is the room
    3. Coverage area of the dehumidifier
    4. Climate and weather conditions
    5. Warranty and customer support

    What to consider when choosing an air purifier?

    When choosing an air purifier, the user should consider the size of the room that is to be purified and ensure that the air purifier in question covers the same size of the room. It’s always important to rely on brands that are reputable with positive customer reviews.
    Always ensure that your desired air purifier is equipped with the right filters, especially a HEPA. Having an air purifier with a prolonged warranty can provide users with peace of mind, knowing that their devices are protected for longer periods of time.
    To sum things up, here’s what you should look into when buying an air purifier
    1. Room size and coverage area
    2. Brand reputation and customer reviews
    3. Filters used
    4. Warranty and customer support


    Air purifiers and dehumidifiers share some common features but are fundamentally different appliances designed to address specific indoor air quality issues.

    Air purifiers excel in removing airborne particles and allergens, whereas dehumidifiers are dedicated to controlling humidity levels by removing extra moisture from the air. Both units, however, improve overall indoor air quality.

    The decision to use an air purifier, dehumidifier, or both should be based on specific needs and concerns. Combining their powers can result in a well-rounded air quality solution for achieving cleaner, more comfortable indoor air.

    Browse through the specs of the Ionmax Breeze Plus air purifier, ideal for living rooms and bedrooms or the Ionmax Vienne desiccant dehumidifier, perfect for dehumidifying small to medium-sized spaces.

    Ionmax Breeze Plus UV HEPA Antiviral Air Purifier with mobile app
    The Ionmax Breeze Plus Air Purifier
    Ionmax Vienne 10L desiccant dehumidifier protect clothes and furnishings
    The Ionmax Vienne Desiccant Dehumidifier

    Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general reference only. Please seek advice from professionals according to your needs.

    Ionmax Australia

    Ionmax Australia

    Founded in 2003, Ionmax Australia has received numerous awards and accolades for its innovative products and commitment to customer satisfaction. Ionmax dehumidifiers and air purifiers have been recognised for their effectiveness in reducing indoor air pollutants and improving air quality. The company is committed to researching and developing new and improved products that meet the needs and expectations of its customers, making it a trusted name in households across Australia and beyond.

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