Air purifiers are beautiful devices that improve our home environment and gives benefit to our health in long term. No matter how efficient the air purifier is, they all are quite complex and combine many technologies. Air cleaners are not just a fan with On/Off switch, which makes the air clean and fresh. Sophisticated science stands behind all air purifiers and their technologies. Since I don`t want to confuse you too much, I wouldn`t go deep into the science.

If you ever had an air purifier or are just considering to buy, I’m sure that you came across many different products, brands, features, and new terminology. Some air purifiers have activated carbon filters even with no pre-filters, some of them have HEPA, True HEPA or even no HEPA filters at all. All of this is very confusing at the beginning.

Please! Ease your life and take a look at the picture below and see the principle how most air cleaners work.pre-filter-and-activated-carbon-functionality


Here you can see the difference between the cheapest air purifiers and the most efficient premium air cleaners. As you can see in the image, high-end air purifiers all have pre-filters, combined with a compelling mixture of two different filters that provides the ultimate results. Let`s find out why pre-filters are good, or maybe they are bad? By the way, what is activated carbon filter and how it get into the story?

Pre-filter Functions

Pre-filters are a nice feature to have in your air purifier. It also expands the lifetime of HEPA and activated carbon filters which follow after pre-filter. The pre-filter is the front line in an air purifier, and it captures largest particles which the primary filter usually can’t do. Pre-filters come as a very handy feature that strengthens air filtering technology by preventing debris getting into the next, primary filter.

Pre-filters usually have a long lifetime because they can be washed, vacuumed and replaced whenever it`s necessary. If your air purifier is running all the time, then it`s recommended to clean the pre-filter at least one a month. Otherwise, pollution such as fur, pollen, dust and hair will get stucked in the pre-filter after a while, and it will dramatically decrease the overall performance of an air purifier. Washable filter is a great plus, which will save you a lot of money long term.

Eventually, after a longer period, the pre-filter will wear out, after many times of cleaning it, and active air-purifying day after day. So, if you want to keep it safe then buy a new pre-filter and change the old one, when you feel that it is necessary.

Air filtering technology that is based on several level filtration, especially air purifiers using pre-filters, is much more efficient at cleaning the air because they do not release anything back in the air and catch all the particles in filters. Notice that there are several level filtration which has no pre-filters, take this into consideration when choosing the best air purifier for you.

Take a look at the image above again, and imagine that there is no pre-filter which pactures largest particles. All the pollution then will go directly into the HEPA filter and then smaller particles further into the activated carbon filter. Firstly, pre-filters are much cheaper than HEPA and activated carbon filters.

Secondly, if all the pollution will go directly into the HEPA filter first, it will lose it’s efficiently drastically. Yes, there are washable HEPA filters, but it will wear out much faster then. Your air purifier will live longer with pre-filter, it helps to keep the interior of the air cleaner tidy.

Activated Carbon Filters

activated-carbon-filterActivated carbon filters are quite special, and they tend to clean air from dust and dirt more efficiently than standard filters. As they use chemically developed carbon, they can eliminate smaller particles and even odor. The pre-filters and HEPA filters can`t do anything about odors, like smoke and other nasty smells. The activated carbon filter is a quite handy feature to have in your air purifier if you are a smoker or you have pets at your home.

Activated carbon is also known as activated charcoal. Oxygen combined with activated charcoal goes through a process that opens up the pores between the atoms. Basic function for activated charcoal is to absorb colored substances and smells from gasses and liquids. Due to the nature of the job the activated carbon filters do, they can not be washed or vacuumed, and you can only buy a new one and replace it.
Double filtration and precaution are offered by a strong combination of activated carbon pre-filter. Nothing will get through this filter, neither gasses, dust or odors. Activated carbon filters do wonders as a helper in air filtering unit, and they are almost never used alone to clean the air.

The Choice Is Yours

It`s a fact that air purifiers which are using activated carbon filters or pre-filters are way more efficient, than those with a single level filtration system. Of course, you need to consider the purpose of an air purifier, sizes of the particles and will you need to deal with odors.

Maybe cheaper unit with single level filtration is a better solution in your case, and it`s up to you. Several level filtration systems will not just expand the filter lifetime but, also, extend the life of whole air purifier. It all comes down to the primary purpose why you need the air purifier.