HEPA vs Carbon Filters: Which is Better for Air Purification?

When it comes to air purification it can be difficult to decide between a HEPA filter and a carbon filter. Learn about their differences so you can choose the most effective air filter for your needs.

HEPA vs Carbon Filters: Which is Better for Air Purification?

When it comes to air purification, it can be difficult to decide between a HEPA filter and a carbon filter. HEPA filters are better at removing larger physical particles such as pollen, dust mites, mold, and other allergens. Carbon filters, on the other hand, are better at eliminating odors, smoke and other gaseous particles. Fortunately, quite a few brands of air purifiers use both HEPA and carbon filters, but they can be a little more expensive. The technology behind HEPA filters is very different from what is used with carbon filters.

In HEPA filters, fiber gathers to trap, intercept and trap air particles moving through the filter. But in carbon filters, there is no entrapment. Smoke, gas and odor are eliminated by charcoal, which reacts with the unwanted odor and simply absorbs it. The outlet is clean, fresh air without a bad smell. Essentially, carbon-based filters are excellent at trapping fumes and odors.

However, they are not as good with particles. Therefore, when you look at HEPA vs. carbon filters, your decision may depend on the pollutants you are working with. You might even need both types of filters. When it comes to indoor fume extractors and air purifiers, charcoal filters are often preferred because they can trap odors in the room.

However, carbon-based filtration systems will not remove particles and allergens quite well. Therefore, a mixed filtration system is often the best in industrial applications. To learn more about your options for welding fume extractors and VOC air purifiers, talk to IP Systems USA. Now that you understand the different types of air filtration, the first step is to identify what contaminants you are trying to remove. By having an idea of what you want to remove, you can choose the most effective air filter to do it. For example, if you are a cigarette smoker, a single HEPA filter will not suffice.

An activated carbon filter will be more effective at eliminating odors. If you are more interested in eliminating allergens such as dust, bacteria, pet dander and mold, it is recommended to buy a purifier with a HEPA filter as they are more effective at removing larger particles. Air purifiers with UV filters are often used in sterile environments such as hospitals, kitchens, nurseries and laboratories. To have an effective air purifier that can eliminate all types of bad odors and even some dangerous chemicals it is necessary to have a large carbon filter that is capable of absorbing significant amounts of bad odor. An activated carbon air filter is a filtration medium dedicated to odor and VOC removal made of highly porous carbon. I recently wrote a resource that lucidly explains the difference between HEPA and HEPA air filters.

The natural defense system of the human body becomes more vulnerable due to the inhalation of these pollutants which is why allergists and doctors strongly recommend purifying household air with HEPA filters. Ionic and HEPA air purifiers are very common solutions to many homeowners' indoor air quality problems. Carbon filters are used in gas masks as protection if there is any biochemical gas in the air that could harm people's health. This 3-in-1 cartridge filter consists of a pre-filter, a HEPA filter and a carbon filter in the same medium. Changes in temperature and humidity can cause the filter to release some of the organic pollutants trapped in the air. But do activated carbon filters remove carbon dioxide? No, carbon filters are extremely limited when it comes to carbon dioxide removal. Some air purifiers only have carbon filters that are too small and then you have a problem when the air purifier doesn't remove all the bad odors from the room.

Because these two air filters are made differently they work differently and they do completely different things. HEPA filters were originally used in World War II to remove radioactive particles in the air that affected the respiratory system of soldiers. Keep in mind that charcoal filters can also purify liquids so these filters are also used in coffee machines and when distilling whiskey. Today they are often used to filter domestic air with the ability to trap 99.97% of all particles in the air that are as small as 0.3 microns in size and 95% of tiny particles down to 0.1 microns.

Suzette Childres
Suzette Childres

Extreme sushi junkie. Typical zombie fan. Friendly music enthusiast. Professional pop culture geek. Hipster-friendly social media evangelist. Typical pop culture scholar.

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