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Do Air Purifiers Make the Air Dry?

Last updated November 24, 2022

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Author avatar James Booth

As an experienced content producer and editor, James makes sure our content is always compelling, clear, and useful. He also leads the production team and makes sure our writers have everything they need to keep doing their best work. On his off days, you'll find him outside hiking or searching for stone circles.

Our verdict:

No, air purifiers do not make the air dry. The purpose of air purifiers is to improve indoor air quality, and as such, they lack the mechanisms needed to reduce indoor humidity.

To change the moisture content in your environment, you would either need to invest in a dehumidifier (if trying to remove moisture from the air), or a humidifier (if trying to put it back into the air).

Many different air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers are available on the market. Do your research and due diligence before deciding which is right for you!

Air purifiers can be an excellent tool for filtering the air you breathe in your environment. However, while running an air purifier, you may find that the air feels drier. But do air purifiers make the air dry? The short answer is: No, they don’t! But you may feel like it does due to the increase of airflow and air cooling from the fan in your air purifier.

In this article, we’ll go through why it may feel like your air purifier is drying the air and what you can do to remove moisture.

Air Purifiers Clean, Not Dry the Air

Air purifiers work to clean the air around you by passing it through a variety of filters. The best models have activated carbon and HEPA filters to capture most particles and chemical gasses. 

The various stages of cleaning the air with an air purifier are:

  1. Pre-filtration: Air is sucked into the unit and the pre-filter removes the larger particles from the air, such as dust, hair and pet dander.
  1. Activated carbon filtration: This filter removes VOCs and odors.
  1. HEPA filtration: This last filter removes the finest pollutants from the air, including bacteria, viruses, mold, pollen and smoke
  1. Clean air is then expelled from the air purifier back into your environment.

Air purifiers lack the appropriate mechanisms to absorb and condense the air’s moisture. So, air purifiers don’t dry the air. 

Why Does it Feel Like Your Air Purifier is Making the Air Dry?

It can feel like the air is drier when you run your air purifier, even if that’s not the case. There can be a few reasons behind this.

When air purifiers are running, they circulate air through the room. This has the same effect as a fan. As a result, it can often feel like the air is drier when the air is just moving. In addition, warm air feels more humid as it can hold more moisture. Warm air also rises, so you’re more likely to feel this in the upper levels of your home. 

Cool air, however, often feels less humid and drier. You may feel this in the lower levels of your home. As you circulate air through your room using an air purifier, the air becomes cooler which can lead to you believing that the air is drier. In reality, while running your air purifier, there is no change to the amount of moisture in the air unless you also run a dehumidifier. An air purifier cannot change the humidity in the air.

Finally, dry air is caused by cold air- which naturally occurs in the cooler months. During the winter, when the outside air is naturally colder, it’s unable to hold as much moisture. Therefore, in the winter months, when the fresh air source in your home comes from the outside, the air circulating in your home will naturally feel drier.

9 Signs You Might Need a Dehumidifier

So, now that you know that an air purifier won’t be able to remove moisture from the air: Do you need a dehumidifier instead? Dehumidifiers are excellent tools, but how should you know if you need one? 

Here are a few tell-tale signs that may make you consider purchasing one:

Sign #1. Someone in your home has an excessively long allergy season every year

Sign #2. If you’ve recently moved and your allergies are flaring up or seem worse than they were before.

Sign #3. You can smell dampness persistently in your home.

Sign #4. You have any leaks in your home after heavy rain.

Sign #5. You notice that the air in your home feels muggy when you enter—this would mean that you see the water vapor in the air.

Sign #6. Someone in your household is allergic to dust mites.

Sign #7. You’ve noticed an increase in pests, such as spiders, cockroaches, moths, or silverfish.

Sign #8. Your clothes smell damp or moldy, even after being freshly laundered.

Sign #9. You can’t stop coughing or have a runny nose.

If you’re experiencing any or several of these, then it could be a sign that your house has an excess of moisture in the air. A dehumidifier would be able to help with this, thereby preventing mold and more serious problems from arising in your home.

👉 Don’t worry—you don’t need to rush out and buy a dehumidifier for every room. By simply placing a dehumidifier in especially damp-prone spots, such as bathrooms and kitchens, you can help your overall home health.

What Does a Dehumidifier Do?  

Dehumidifiers draw warm air currents into their coils through a fan. This then contracts as it passes through the machine’s refrigerated coils, leaving condensation collected in a storage tank, one drop at a time. The machine then releases the cooler and drier air back into your environment. 

It’s estimated that a dehumidifier can reduce the moisture in your air by 30–50%. But for those keen not to purchase a dehumidifier, there are other natural ways to dehumidify your room.  

Remember, dehumidifiers will not be able to clean the air, as they can only remove moisture from it. To clean the air, you will need an air purifier.

The Top 3 Dehumidifiers

Best Overall
Best Budget Option
Best for Large Spaces
Style
hOmeLabs 1,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier for Medium to Large Rooms and Basements
Amazon Basics Dehumidifier - For Areas Up to 2,500 Square Feet, 35-Pint, Energy Star Certified
hOmeLabs 4,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier for Extra Large Rooms and Basements
Pros
Sleek clean look, convenient built-in wheels and handles, and a quiet fan that won’t drown out your TV
Includes timer feature
It has a washable air filter. You can monitor moisture capacity through its tank window
Cons
Some have reported problems with the pump
Some have reported overheating problems
There’s no drain hose included
Moisture Removed (over 24hrs)
22
35
50 Pints
Recommended Room Size
1,500 sq ft
2500 sq ft
4500 sq. ft
Weight
30.5 lb
39.2
40 lbs
Price
$149.97
$159.99
$199.97
Best Overall
Style
hOmeLabs 1,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier for Medium to Large Rooms and Basements
Pros
Sleek clean look, convenient built-in wheels and handles, and a quiet fan that won’t drown out your TV
Cons
Some have reported problems with the pump
Moisture Removed (over 24hrs)
22
Recommended Room Size
1,500 sq ft
Weight
30.5 lb
Price
$149.97
More Details
Best Budget Option
Style
Amazon Basics Dehumidifier - For Areas Up to 2,500 Square Feet, 35-Pint, Energy Star Certified
Pros
Includes timer feature
Cons
Some have reported overheating problems
Moisture Removed (over 24hrs)
35
Recommended Room Size
2500 sq ft
Weight
39.2
Price
$159.99
More Details
Best for Large Spaces
Style
hOmeLabs 4,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier for Extra Large Rooms and Basements
Pros
It has a washable air filter. You can monitor moisture capacity through its tank window
Cons
There’s no drain hose included
Moisture Removed (over 24hrs)
50 Pints
Recommended Room Size
4500 sq. ft
Weight
40 lbs
Price
$199.97
More Details

Final Thoughts

Air purifiers may make it feel like the air is drier, thanks to cooler air and increased airflow. However, in reality, they do not affect the humidity in your environment. In order to remove moisture from your surroundings, you’ll need a dehumidifier for best results. If you would rather remove the moisture from your air naturally, you can reduce the humidity in multiple ways.

If, on the other hand, you’re finding that your environment is too dry, then you may want to consider looking into a humidifier. These work the opposite way to dehumidifiers by replenishing moisture in your environment. They can be particularly effective in dry environments such as desert regions.

Sources

Healthline. (2020). What Does a Dehumidifier Do? healthline.com

Energy Star. Dehumidifier Basics energystar.gov

US Air Purifiers. Do Air Purifiers Make Air Dry? usairpurifiers.com

Eco Living Expert. Do Air Purifiers Dry the Air (or Why Does It Feel That Way?) ecolivingexpert.comHome Detoxing. (2022). Do Air Purifiers Make the Air Dry?homedetoxing.com

Last update on 2022-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API