Mechanical vs. Electronic Air Cleaners: What’s The Difference?
If you’re in the process of researching the best air cleaner for your home, you’ve probably come across a couple different types: mechanical and electronic. Now begs the question: what’s the difference between the two? In this blog, we’ll cover the main differences between mechanical and electronic air cleaners.
What Are Mechanical Air Cleaners?
Mechanical air cleaners are designed to remove large particles, like dust, dander and pollen from your indoor air. They work by moving air over a media filter in which anything larger than a certain size is captured. The finer the filter, the smaller the particles that are captured. The most common type of mechanical air cleaner is the HEPA (high energy particulate filter) that captures contaminants as small as 0.3 microns or larger. It’s recommended that mechanical air filters be replaced every 3 months or so in order to remain effective.
What Are Electronic Air Cleaners?
Electronic air cleaners are sometimes known as ionizers or electronic air purifiers. They offer further protection by actively removing gas and smoke particles through a process called ionization. This process charges the particles in the air and separates them from the airflow. It only works well for those smaller particles, though, so it’s not effective alone for common allergens such as dust. Electronic air cleaners are 10 to 20 times more efficient at trapping particles in the air than your standard fiberglass HVAC filter.
So, What’s The Difference Between Them?
The main difference between mechanical and electronic air cleaners is that electronic cleaners aren’t filters at all, unlike mechanical air cleaners. Instead, electronic air cleaners create an electric field that ionizes the particles that try to travel through the air.
Another big difference between the two is that electronic air cleaners are designed to remove small particles, like gas and smoke, and mechanical air cleaners are designed to remove large particles, like dust and pollen. If your household has sensitive members or lots of pets, then electronic air cleaners may be the better choice. Most heating and cooling systems will come equipped with a mechanical filter that is “built in.”
Last but not least, another difference between the two is the cost. Electronic air cleaners tend to be more expensive than mechanical filters. However, electronic air cleaners also tend to be more effective – so many people find the cost to be worth it.
Depending on what you need, knowing these differences can help you make the best decision for your household.