Air Purifier Vs. Humidifier: Which One is Better for Allergies?

Last Updated on: 11th May 2023, 02:56 pm

Bad indoor air quality might flare up your allergy symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose, coughing, or difficulty breathing. If you’re trying to manage your allergy symptoms you might be wondering which is better for allergy relief, an air purifier or a humidifier.

In this article, we’ll go through some differences between an air purifier vs. humidifier and understand which is better to help alleviate your allergy symptoms.

Table of Contents

What causes Allergies?

Allergies occur as a reaction to foreign substances or allergens such as pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, or even food in some people. Your body recognizes these substances as invaders and activates an immune reaction against them.

air purifier vs. humidifier

The allergic reaction differs in severity and can range from mild symptoms such as runny nose, itchiness, rash, coughing, and wheezing to a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis. You may have food allergies, mold allergies, pollen allergies, pet allergies, or dust allergies.

You should have clean and improved indoor air quality so that you avoid those allergens that trigger your allergy symptoms. For this purpose, air purifiers and humidifiers prove to be helpful.

What is an Air Purifier and How does it Work?

An air purifier captures and removes indoor air pollutants such as pollens, dust mites, pet dander, and bacteria from your surroundings and provides clean and purified air to breathe.

air purifier vs. humidifier

Air purifiers have two important elements; a fan and a series of filters. A fan draws contaminated air into the air purifier and releases purified air back into the atmosphere. The filters, on the other hand, are designed to capture and eliminate airborne contaminants.

Many air filters have the ability to remove large air particles that are five microns or less in size, for example, dust mites and pollen. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are the most efficient air filters that can remove contaminants or allergens as fine as 0.3 microns.

Apart from these filters, some models of air purifiers come with ultraviolet filters to combat biological pollutants such as mold and bacteria. Some air purifiers also have activated charcoal filters that help eliminate gases, VOCs, and other toxic compounds from your air.

Learn about the 12 Best Large Room Air Purifiers with Washable Filter

How Air Purifiers Help with Allergies

An air purifier traps pollen, dust mites, bacteria, viruses, and other harmful pollutants that are circulating in your home’s atmosphere. With its effective HEPA filtration system, it gets rid of these airborne contaminants that flare up your allergy symptoms. So air purifiers are effective devices that make your home’s air clean and help you breathe better.

What is an Air Humidifier and How does it Work?

An air humidifier is an electrical appliance that adds moisture to indoor air thereby increasing the humidity levels of your home’s atmosphere. A humidifier tackles problems that are caused by dry air such as dry skin, nose, throat, sinus congestion, cracked lips, and nose bleeds.

air purifier vs. humidifier

These problems occur when the air in your surroundings gets dry. This is common especially in the winter season when using furnaces for heating purposes makes the air even more dry causing a decline in humidity levels.

EPA suggests that your indoor humidity levels should be between 30 and 50%. Both high and low humidity levels cause various health-related problems.

Evaporative humidifiers are one of the most popular types of humidifiers. They are self-regulating and work on a simple mechanism of evaporation. An evaporative humidifier consists of a wicking filter and a fan that helps disperse moisture or humidity into the atmosphere.

To ensure optimal performance of the device, the wicking filters need to be replaced regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

How Air Humidifiers Help with Allergies

By adding moisture to the air, an air humidifier helps moisturize our skin, preventing itchiness and dry skin. It also relieves sore throat, flu, and common cold symptoms.

Balanced humidity levels in the air prevent nosebleeds, sinus irritation, bronchitis, and symptoms of asthma that are caused by the negative effects of dry air.

Air Purifier vs. Humidifier: Which is Better for Allergies

Air purifiers and humidifiers address bad indoor air in different ways. While an air humidifier relieves health-related problems caused by dry indoor air, an air purifier can be a more effective option to keep allergy symptoms under control during the allergy season.

Air purifiers are equipped with a highly efficient HEPA filtration system that traps and removes indoor air pollutants as small as 0.3 microns. These air pollutants such as pet dander, mold, dust mites, and microbial pathogens are the main triggers of allergy.

One of the important advantages of air purifiers is that they continue to purify the air even when you don’t have any allergy symptoms.

If you’re interested in buying air purifiers then read about Ionic Air Purifier Vs. HEPA Filter

Can you use an Air Purifier and Humidifier Together?

Knowing that an air purifier might work better for your allergies doesn’t mean you can’t use a humidifier. Investing in both devices during the heavy allergy season is ideal.

By using this approach you can maximize your results in managing cough, cold, sinus congestion, and difficulty in breathing.

An air humidifier soothes your allergy symptoms while an air purifier gets rid of those allergens that are the culprits of your allergy. Nowadays, many models of air purifiers and humidifier combos are available on the market.

You can buy this combo instead of purchasing two separate devices. This way you can also save energy and space in your home.

Read more about using an air purifier and humidifier together.

The Takeaway

While an air humidifier has its own advantages in tackling issues caused by low humidity levels of indoor air, an air purifier can be a better option with regard to managing allergies. An air purifier eliminates airborne contaminants from your home’s atmosphere thus circulating purified and healthy air that helps you breathe better. So, an air purifier can be your ultimate solution to control allergies in the long run.


Do humidifiers worsen allergies?

Yes, if your humidifier is dirty it releases dirty and contaminated mist that leads to increased growth of allergens into your home’s atmosphere. Moreover, if the humidity levels go beyond the normal range, it can promote the growth of harmful microbes as they thrive in damp environments. So, the accumulation of allergens and microbial pathogens in your surroundings can make your allergies worse.

Should you run an air purifier and humidifier at the same time?

The answer is: Yes, it is ideal to use an air purifier and humidifier at the same time during the winter and allergy months. You can get the combined benefits of using both these devices together to keep your allergies under control. However, it is recommended to place these devices far away if you want to use them in the same room. This approach ensures that neither of these will have a negative effect on the other’s functionality.

Do air purifiers help stuffy nose?

Yes. Air purifiers effectively remove allergens from the air that are the main cause of sinus-related issues. The purified and clean air from an air purifier relieves sneezing and nasal congestion.

Does an air purifier work like a humidifier?

No, it doesn’t. Though both air purifiers and humidifiers improve indoor air quality, their working principle is entirely different. An air purifier removes airborne particles from the air while a humidifier releases water vapors or mist into the air to increase moisture levels in your home.