Air Conditioner Vs Air Purifier – What’s the Main Difference?

Last Update On: February 28, 2022 // Article Written By:

The global change in climate makes having a way to condition the air in your home very important. Asides from the change in nature, many modern houses are sealed and securely insulated making the demand for better air higher. More than just enjoying the cool air, the air quality is also being reduced by several pollutants.

For homeowners, there are several options when it comes to looking for quality indoor air. Whether it is a small room or a large house, the common choice has been air conditioners in different sizes. But some homes do need to get cleaner and better air so the need for a purifier. So are these two different or can they be interchanged?

Here we give a comparison between them:

Air Conditioner Vs Air Purifier: Compression chart

SereneLife Portable Air Conditioner (12,000 BTU + HEAT)
Coway Airmega AP-1512HH(W) True HEPA Purifier
SereneLife Portable Air Conditioner (12,000 BTU + HEAT)
Coway Airmega AP-1512HH(W) True HEPA Purifier
Dimensions (LxWxH)
Dimensions (LxWxH)
17.4 x 13.4 x 32.1 inches
9.6 x 16.8 x 18.3 inches
70.3 Pounds
12.76 Pounds
Special Feature
Special Feature
Portable, Remote control
Filter replacement indicator, variable fan speed, LED light to indicate the cleanliness of the indoor air
Included Component
Included Component
Exhaust Hose, REMOTE
AP-1512HH(W) Filter set, User Manual
3 years excluding filters

But getting these two benefits do not always mean you should get two separate devices as you could easily get an air purifier and AC combo.

Air Conditioner Vs Air Purifier – Which One is better?

Air Conditioner Vs Air Purifier

1. Air conditioner

They come in different sizes, from small window hanging ones to large standing ones, air conditioners are very common especially in homes and offices. Irrespective of the size, the operating system of the AC is the same: cooling the air in the home.

The AC does this by drawing out excess heat and moisture from the indoor air and taking the hot air outside, often collecting as water droplets. This is possible using the refrigerant (a refrigerating liquid in the AC system).

By drawing in hot air, cooling it and sending it back in, the air conditioner can circulate cool air around the home. This usually continues in a cycle till the desired temperature is attained in your home.

What are the benefits of an Air Conditioner?

Reduced moisture

More than reducing the temperature, air conditioners also reduce the moisture content in the air. If one thing, a reduction in the humidity in the home reduces the risk of growing mold and mildew in the home.

Reduced asthma attack and allergies

Closed windows when the AC is turned on helps to keep pollens, bacteria dust and other airborne allergens. Also, the filtering feature of the AC helps to significantly reduce these allergens that can trigger an asthma attack.

Reduced dehydration and heatstroke

Even during the hottest summers, the tendency to have a heat stroke or to be very dehydrated is drastically reduced with an air conditioner. Because the temperature is not too hot, you lose less water through sweating which means your body remains hydrated.

Improves your sleep and work performance

It is easier to be productive in a cool environment than in a very hot space. An air conditioner makes you feel comfortable enough to be productive while at work. Asides from working, a cool space makes falling asleep easy and enjoyable.

Protects your electronics

Just as our bodies get too hot, electronics within the home can also get overheated and this could result in damages. In the most manageable case is a shortened life span of these gadgets whereas, it could get worse resulting in loss of data.

But unlike humans, electronics cannot tell when there is overheating which makes having an air conditioner where there are electronics necessary.

Less noise, insects and parasites

Since you have the windows closed when the AC is on, insects and parasites cannot easily get into the house. AC comes with certain filters that are smaller than those of regular windows. Besides, a closed window shuts out the noise.


Skin dryness

Remember that the AC cools the room by drawing out moisture from the room thus spending extended time under the AC can cause moisture from the skin to also be dried. This results in dry and sensitive skin often accompanied by irritations.

Risk of respiratory infection

If the Air conditioner is not well maintained, there could be a buildup of dust, bacteria and pollen grains in the filters. These pollutants affect the quality of the air while posing risks of respiratory infections.

Electricity consumption

2. Air Purifier

The main function of an air purifier is to improve the quality of the air in the home by filtering out contaminants. Every tiny impurity from dust, pet dander, smoke, germs, mold, and odors are removed by the air purifier.

In the air purifier, air is sucked into the air purifier and then filtered through the filter systems in it. When the air is filtered, it is blown back into the house.

What are the benefits of an Air Purifier?

Removal of contaminants

The air purifier works on specifically removing pollutants or contaminants from the air in the room. Things like dust, pollen, and mold are thoroughly removed by the air purifier making the air cleaner and safer. When these contaminants are removed, there is a reduced risk of anyone falling sick.

Removal of dangerous chemicals and odors

Dangerous chemicals and odors that are harmful to your health and also unpleasant to perceive are removed by the air purifier. Smoke and other strong smells can be removed with an air purifier.

Improves the quality of your home

The quality of indoor air is usually lower than that of outdoor because there is reduced air circulation. However, using an air purifier, you can improve the air within your home making it much better and healthier than outdoors by removing dirt and stale odor.


Old filters might do the opposite of what you need

When the filters get old, they have a lot of dirt, germs and pollutants collected on them. If these are not promptly removed, they become the sources of illnesses themselves.

Does not cool the air

Air purifiers do just the purification of air. They do not remove excessive heat or moisture from the home which can still be uncomfortable to stay in.

Ozone air purifiers

Some air purifiers come with an ozone filter which when inhaled in the tiniest bit can cause irritations to your lungs.

Do I need an Air Purifier or an Air Conditioner?

Both serve different functions and as such, your need would determine which you are getting. For instance, if your need is a regulation of the hot or moist air in your home, you might consider getting an air conditioner. Air conditioners are perfect for reducing the humidity in the house. Generally, if your need is cooling with a reduced need for air purifying, an air conditioner is better.

Do I need an Air Purifier or an Air Conditioner

On the other hand, if you seek to own a system that can help improve the air quality and not necessarily about the cool temperature, you need an air purifier. Air purifiers serve for giving cleaner air and can help reduce the risk of asthma and other allergies while removing pet dander.

Are there any Air Conditioner with Built-in Air Purifier

But there are instances, you might need the two devices since each system is designed to do different things. If this is your need, you could consider getting both for your home. Another option is to find some air conditioners with built-in air purifiers instead of using several devices that would clutter your home.

While they are not many, some AC brands offer air purification features through ionisation-based filtration. Not only is this a solution to summer heat, but you also get clean air free from pollution as well. All ACs have a dust filter in them but much more than that, some have the ionization filter that does a thorough job of purifying the air just as an air purifier would.

Final Words

Air conditioners and air purifiers are very different in the benefits they offer. Your need would determine which one you need either cleaner or cooler air. If you need both cool and clean air in your home, you could use both of these at the same time.

To save space and energy, your best bet would be to get an air conditioner with an air purification feature. For this, you have to be very observant of the listed features of whatever AC you are getting. One thing to look out for is that the AC has an ionization feature. If you get that, you can be sure to enjoy both comfortable and healthy air within your home.

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Author - Joseph Lee

Hi, I am Joseph Lee, I have a home gadget tools selling shop, where I sell air purifiers and its related accessories. Because of my business, I have to face so many clients of the air purifiers machine users. Though my shop specializes in air purifiers, I saw many clients face difficulties with installation, maintenance, not getting the exact amount of service, buying the wrong one. All those problems they face because of their lack of knowledge about air purifiers. 

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