Air purifier Vs. Vacuum Cleaner (The Pros And Cons)

  • Author: Irene Batres
  • Date: March 29, 2023
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Ever wondered what sets air purifiers and vacuum cleaners apart? 

I know, you might be thinking, “Booooring!” 

But trust me, knowing how these two devices operate and how they can keep your home healthy and hygienic is essential.

In this article, I will dive into the differences between air purifiers and vacuum cleaners. We’ll explore how they work, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and which one is better suited for certain situations. 

So, if you’re eager to maintain a clean and fresh home environment, stick around and discover more about air purifiers vs. vacuum cleaners.

Air purifier Vs. Vacuum Cleaner

Key Takeaways:

  • Air purifiers and vacuum cleaners serve different purposes in maintaining a healthy and hygienic home environment.
  • Air purifiers trap and eliminate airborne pollutants like dust, pollen, and bacteria using HEPA, activated carbon, UV-C, ionizers, and ozone generators.
  • Vacuum cleaners remove larger debris like dirt and hair from floors and carpets using bag or canister filters, HEPA filters, or cyclonic filtration.
  • Air purifiers can help reduce allergy and asthma symptoms and pet-related problems, while vacuum cleaners are effective for picking up larger debris.

Comparison Of Air Purifiers Vs.Vacuum Cleaners 

CriteriaAir PurifiersVacuum Cleaners
Noise levelGenerally quieter, ranging from 20-60 decibelsGenerally louder, ranging from 50-90 decibels
Energy consumptionLow energy consumption, typically ranging from 50-100 wattsHigh energy consumption, typically ranging from 1400-3000 watts
Operating costRelatively low operating cost due to low energy consumption and long filter lifeHigher operating costs due to higher energy consumption and frequent filter replacement
MaintenanceRegular filter replacement and occasional cleaning of the unitRegular cleaning of the unit, filter replacement, and bag or canister emptying
Filtration system typesHEPA, activated carbon, UV-C, ionizersBag or canister filters, HEPA filters, or cyclonic filtration
Removes containmentsTraps and removes small particles like dust, pollen, smoke, bacteria, and viruses. Also can remove Chemicals in the air like VOCsIt picks up larger debris like dirt, hair, and crumbs but may not effectively remove small particles or microorganisms. It only removes debris from the ground, not the air.
Odor removalSome air purifiers have activated carbon filters that can remove odors, which helps to reduce or eliminate unpleasant odors in the air.Some vacuum cleaners have built-in odor-eliminating features but may not be as effective as dedicated air fresheners or deodorizers.

How Air Purifiers Work

Air purifiers are pretty nifty devices that can help freshen up the air in any given space. 

These little wonders eliminate harmful particles and pollutants such as dust, pollen, smoke, and bacteria from the atmosphere. 

They use HEPA or activated carbon filters, which act like secret agents by trapping the bad guys or eliminating unpleasant smells to get the job done. And as if that wasn’t impressive enough, some air purifiers even use UV light to zap germs. 

In short, these devices make the air inside your home much cleaner and healthier to breathe.

Types Of Air purifiers

HEPA Air Cleaners: Get rid of tiny particles like dust, pollen, and pet dander with HEPA filters.

Activated Carbon Air Filters: Eliminate unpleasant smells, gases, and chemicals with activated carbon filters, perfect for eliminating tobacco smoke or cooking odors.

Ozone Generators: Neutralize pollutants and remove odors by emitting ozone gas. Remember, they are only safe to use in unoccupied spaces and can be dangerous if not used properly.

Ionizing Air Purifiers: Remove pollen, dust, and smoke particles from the air by attracting them with negatively charged ions. Remember that some ionizers may produce ozone gas, which can be harmful.

UV Light Air Cleaners: Kill bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms in the air with UV light.

For even better results, combine UV light with HEPA filters.

Negative Ion Generators: Attract and remove harmful particles from the air, such as dust, pollen, and smoke, using negative ions. These devices are particularly effective for people with allergies or asthma.

Pros Of Air purifiers

Removes airborne pollutants: Air purifiers are designed to capture and filter out airborne particles such as dust, pollen, pet dander, and mold spores.

Reduces allergy and asthma symptoms: For people with allergies or asthma, air purifiers can be especially helpful in reducing symptoms by removing common triggers from the air.

Reduces pet-related problems: Air purifiers can help reduce the amount of pet hair, dander, and odors in the air, making it easier for people with pets to breathe.

Cons Of Air purifiers

  • Air purifiers may need to run constantly to maintain air quality, which can be a nuisance for some people.
  • They may not be effective in large spaces or rooms with high ceilings.

How Vacuums Work

Vacuum cleaners use an electric motor to power a fan that creates negative pressure, sucking in air and particles.

As air passes, a larger area separates dirt and debris from the air. The vacuum cleaner creates a clean space by using energy and time. The fan is in the machine’s body and turns on when activated. Some models use cyclonic separation for better dirt removal.

Types Of Vacuum Cleaners

There are several types available in the market. Below you will find some different types and what each type does. 

Upright vacuum cleaners: Ideal for cleaning large rooms without bending down. They have a motorized brush that helps to clean carpets effectively. They are heavy and noisy compared to other models.

Canister vacuum cleaners:  Typically have excellent suction power but often don’t have powered turbo brushes, making them less effective on carpets. They have a long hose and separate body that is pulled behind you.

Stick vacuum cleaners: Lightweight and easy to maneuver around furniture. They are ideal for quick clean-ups but may not be suitable for deep cleaning.

Handheld vacuum cleaners: Perfect for spot cleaning and quick clean-ups.

Wet and dry vacuum cleaners: Can vacuum wet spills and tougher debris but may not be suitable for everyday use.

Robotic vacuum cleaners: Automated cleaners can be scheduled to clean your home when you’re away. They may be less effective than other vacuums in deep cleaning carpets or removing pet hair.

Pros Of Vacuums

  • Efficiently removes dirt, dust, and debris from floors and carpets.
  • Vacuum cleaners can be used in conjunction with air purifiers for a more comprehensive cleaning solution.
  • Saves time and effort compared to traditional cleaning methods
  • Can help maintain a clean and hygienic living space, promoting overall health and well-being

Cons Of Vacuums

  • Vacuum cleaners cannot remove airborne particles as effectively as air purifiers.
  • Vacuum cleaners can emit unpleasant odors or dust particles when in use, whereas air purifiers can improve indoor air quality and eliminate odors
  • Vacuum cleaners are not effective at removing gases and odors from the air, while air purifiers with activated carbon filters can effectively eliminate these pollutants.
  • Vacuum cleaners can be expensive to replace or repair, while air purifiers are generally less expensive and have longer lifespans.

Final Thoughts- Air Purifier Vs. Vacuum Cleaner: Which is Better?

So, let’s wrap it up! 

Air purifiers and vacuum cleaners do different things when keeping your home clean.

Air purifiers do a fantastic job of removing teeny-tiny particles, allergens, and germs from the air and can help soothe allergies and asthma.

Meanwhile, vacuums are champs at removing bigger messes like dirt, hair, and crumbs from floors and carpets.

When you are deciding between an air purifier and a vacuum, it’s essential to consider how much energy they use, how loud they are, how much they cost to run, how much upkeep they need. And what they need kind of filters they use.

At the end of the day, the best option is the one that fits your needs and what you like.

Should I Buy A Vacuum Cleaner Or An Air Purifier?

Comparing Air purifiers And Vacuum Cleaners F.A.Q

Should I Buy A Vacuum Cleaner Or An Air Purifier?

The decision of whether to purchase a vacuum cleaner or an air purifier is reliant on your specific cleaning requirements. 

In case you want to clean the ground of bigger particles like dirt or dust, then a vacuum cleaner is your best option. However, suppose your objective is to remove small dust particles and allergens from the air. 

In that case, an air purifier is a suitable solution. It’s advisable to invest in both appliances for more thorough cleaning.

You may also want to consider an air purifier vacuum cleaner if you want a device that combines both functions.

Also Read: Air Purifer Vs. Air Scrubber what are the differences

Can You Use A Vacuum Cleaner As An Air Purifier?

Nope, vacuum cleaners aren’t built to be air purifiers, even if they’ve got HEPA filters that push cleaner air into a room. They can suck up dust and decrease the quality of indoor air. But it’s best to use a genuine air purifier for this job.

What Are The Differences Between Air Purifiers And Vacuum Cleaners

Vacuum cleaners handle the big stuff, dirt, and those sizable dust bunnies on your carpets and floors.

But suppose you’re dealing with those pesky airborne allergens like microscopic dust particles, mold spores, stinky smoke, and other icky substances just floating around. In that case, you need an air purifier, my friend. (1.) (2.) (3.) (4.)

irene mills author of freshairdevices


Irene Batres is eager to help others create an indoor allergen-free home. She has years of experience testing out air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and other products designed to help with indoor air quality. Learn more about me.