Air purifier vs. Dehumidifier – Which one is Best?

Certain factors in your home can create an inhospitable experience such as a musty smell each time you walk in or even the lingering smell of the lasagna you cooked a few days ago. There may also be times when you enter your home and start sneezing uncontrollably or your eyes start watering a few minutes after you set foot in the door. This simply means that the air circulating in your home is of poor quality, an issue that can be resolved with either an air purifier or dehumidifier.

To explain briefly, an air purifier, just as the name suggests, is an appliance that is designed to remove the pollutants from the indoor air. Some models go above and beyond to get rid of raunchy odors caused by pets, smokers and environmental factors. A dehumidifier is also a type of home appliance that is engineered to remove excess moisture from the air, and some models even come with air filters to capture the allergens in the air.

Deciding between the two to get rid of moisture, mold and other impurities may seem a little confusing. We placed both types in a head to head comparison to help better answer your question of air purifier vs. dehumidifier. Which one should you choose for your mold problem? Read on to find out.

Direct comparison

Air purifiers

  • Designed to circulate and filter air by trapping impurities in the air such as smoke, dust and other allergens
  • Common types include filter, ozone, ionizing, UV light and absorbents
  • Beneficial for people suffering from asthma and allergies as it eliminates or reduces dust, second hand tobacco smoke and other air-borne allergens


  • Designed to remove excess moisture from the surrounding air
  • Used to eliminate mold, dust mites and mildew from the air and alleviate allergies

Breaking it Down

In order to figure out which one of these two appliances works well for mold issues, we will compare each across four different categories.

  • Function
  • Types
  • Maintenance

Given that both types of appliances are similar in functionality and work towards almost the same goals i.e. to clean your air, we chose these categories to ease your buying decision.


Since both air purifiers and dehumidifiers circulate the air, we chose each of their primary functions to help you select the best one for your underlying issue.

Air purifier

An air filter is equipped with an air filter, through which air is circulated in an effort to get rid of airborne pollutants such as pollen, dust and smoke particles. Owing to the fact that it removes spores from the air, it may also prevent mold build-up, but given that it does not regulate humidity levels in your home, the excessive moisture can leave you with a mold relapse.


Contrary to an air purifier, a dehumidifier is engineered to remove excessive moisture from the air, and consequently lower the room’s humidity levels. Even though it does not filter the surrounding air, it does remove certain allergens such as dust mites and mold, which breed in humid and moist environments.


Next up, we will be checking out the different types of air purifiers and dehumidifiers available to help you better understand which type of appliance can solve your issue.

Air purifier types

The most common types of air filters available are ones that use a HEPA filter, UV light, absorbents and ozone generators.

Dehumidifier types

Most types of dehumidifiers include electronic, adsorption/desiccant, mechanical /refrigerated and ionic membrane.


Maintenance is an important factor to consider when choosing any appliance, because when all is said and done, the last thing you want to do it work harder than the appliance itself.

Air purifier

The filters of air purifiers should be changed every six months. This number of course will vary across manufacturers so check the owner’s manual for manufacturer advice.


Dehumidifiers require a bit more work, which entails emptying the capture bucket when full, cleaning their coils and sometimes even the filter if present.

Final Recap

Before getting to the pros and cons of air purifiers and dehumidifiers, here’s the lowdown on how each type scores in the three respective categories.

  • Function Winner – Dehumidifier
  • Types Winner – Tie
  • Maintenance Winer – Air purifier

Both the dehumidifier and air purifier are neck in neck with a score of 1-1, but let’s further recap the pros and cons of each type of appliance.

Air purifier


  • Easy to maintain
  • Many different types available
  • Designed to remove harsh pollutants such as pollen, dust and smoke particles


  • Does not regulate the humidity in the air



  • Removes excess humidity
  • Removes certain allergens such as dust mites and mold
  • Several different types available


  • Does not remove pollutants such as pollen, dust and smoke particles

Final verdict

Choosing between a dehumidifier and air purifier depends on individual needs. An air purifier will work extra hard to remove harsh impurities from the air, while a dehumidifier will provide cool air by getting rid of excess humidity, which consequently gets rid of certain allergens such as dust mites and mold. Maintaining an air purifier is just a matter of changing the filter, but you will have to empty the capture reservoir and gently wipe down the unit and its coils—a task that can be easily done within five minutes.

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