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air scrubber vs air purifier

Difference Between Air Scrubber vs Air Purifier and More

Air scrubbers vs. air purifiers: what’s the difference? Quite a bit, actually. While they both serve to clean the air inside a given space and reduce indoor air pollution, the types of cleaning that they do and their applications are very different, as you’ll see.

Indoor air pollution can be caused by a variety of factors, depending on where you live. For example, those who live near larger cities might deal with smog from factories or automobiles, while those that live in drier climates might be exposed to wildfire smoke and other irritants.

Below, we will discuss the various types of air cleaners available and help you explore Carrier’s line of air purifiers and air filters to keep the air in your home cleaner, healthier and breathable.

More questions about air purifiers? Check out our guide to learn more.

Let's Compare:  An Air Purifier vs Air Scrubber

So, when it comes down to air scrubbers and air purifiers, there is a lot to know, but keep this in mind: air scrubbers in general refer to equipment that provides air purification in larger commercial buildings, while air purifiers generally refer to products that can be used in any setting, most commonly, the home. Accordingly, air scrubbers can be more expensive than air purifiers due to their more specialized application. Portable air purifiers, on the other hand, are generally affordable to the point that people often have several units dispersed throughout their homes.

Best Air Purification Solutions

There are literally thousands of air purification systems available on the market, but as with most purchases, knowledge is power. Knowing the specific functions and capabilities of a given unit will help you find the one that is right for your family and home. Without question, Carrier produces effective, trusted air purification solutions that may help reduce a number of different airborne contaminants.

Why? Because Carrier smart air purifiers use three levels of air filtration for cleaner air.  Our 3-in-1 high-efficiency filters include pre-filters for larger particles, HEPA filters (short for High Efficiency Particulate Air) for fine particles and activated carbon filters for odors and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).

There are, of course, a few DIY methods that can help improve your indoor air quality. From opening windows on clear days to buying house plants that are bred to purify the air to using fans while cooking on an open stovetop or range, there are many small steps you can take to help reduce allergens in your home’s air, but an air purifier is always a solid and valuable addition to any home.

To get a sense of the air quality in your home, Carrier sells an indoor air monitor that allows you to see the air quality in your room anytime from anywhere via the Carrier Home app.1 Shop Carrier air monitors today.

Ready to shop for an air purifier? Explore the capabilities of the Carrier Smart Air Purifier.

Air Purifier vs Air Filter

When it comes to air filters vs air purifiers, what really is the difference? To put it simply, an air purifier is a standalone portable unit that can be placed in a room to increase the quality of the air in it. Air filters, on the other hand, are products that are used to filter air that flows through your home HVAC system. Air filters must be replaced regularly for maximum efficiency and effectiveness. While each product cleans the air, a room air purifier filters trap impurities within a single room and a HVAC air filter is a whole home solution that filters pollutants from the air that flow through your HVAC system

air purifier vs air filter


Not all air filters are created equally. Some offer minimal protection from allergens and impurities in the air while others, such as HEPA filters and filters with high MERV ratings, remove smaller particles such as dust and pollen, from the air.

Shop Carrier 1” air filters

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Air Purifier vs Ionizer

The type of air purifiers known as air ionizers and ozone generators claim to use electronically charged negative ions to attract impurities and trap them. When looking at an ionizer vs air purifier, it’s important to understand that there is limited research on whether ionizers and ionic air purifiers work, with experts believing that they are nothing more than clever marketing gimmicks rather than bona fide air cleaners and air purifiers.

A perceived benefit of ionizers is that the electrostatic collection plates they use can be reused simply by washing them, while HEPA filters must be replaced regularly. However, HEPA filters are proven to capture many allergens such as pet dander, dust, pollen and tobacco smoke particles, while ionizers may create ozone, which is harmful to your health.

Air Sanitizer vs Air Purifier

As for air sanitizers vs. air purifiers, the difference is also important to understand. Air sanitizers claim to sanitize the air with various technologies such as UV light and/or negative ions. By contrast, air purifiers are capable of removing tiny particulates from the air through filtration.

Comparing Air Scrubber vs Air Purifier Products and More

The chart below will help you understand the difference between air scrubbers, air purifiers and other products we discussed.

Products Pros Cons
Carrier Air Purifier Filters small particles through an air filter and odors/VOCs through an activated carbon filter Filter must be changed frequently for maximum effectiveness
Air Scrubber Filters small particles through a HEPA filter in commercial buildings Expensive, not practical for home use
Ionizer Supposedly targets impurities through negative ionization Lacks scientific data to prove that this technology works


Related: Air Purifiers vs. Humidifiers

Ready to shop for a Carrier indoor air purifier? Discover all of our air purifier products.



  1. Wi-Fi® connection required. Free Carrier Home App download required. See User Guide for more details.
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