Which Type of Whole-Home Air Purifier Is Right for My Home?

HEPA air filter

You know you want cleaner air in your home, but the question is where to start and what is the best whole-home air purifier. With so many whole-home air purifiers on the market, it can be difficult to determine which type will best meet your needs. If you’re having trouble with the selection process, the following information from our indoor air quality experts will help.


A whole-home air purifier (also called a whole-home air purification system) is usually installed in your existing HVAC system. Typically, it will work in tandem with the blower and air intake system to draw in dirty air, purify it, and distribute cleaner air into your home.

Whole-home air purifiers have some key advantages over portable air purifiers:

  • They operate quietly and out of sight.
  • They can purify the air in a large area (which is why they’re called “whole-home” air purifiers).
  • Some can prevent dust and debris from entering your HVAC equipment much better than a standard air filter, which can increase your heater and AC’s efficiency.


If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your options, your needs are the best place to start.

  • Do you need a system that captures allergens?
  • Are you more concerned with odor control and something that can absorb smoke and harmful gases?
  • Would you like a system that’s capable of destroying viruses, bacteria, and other harmful biocontaminants?

Make a list of your indoor air quality priorities, and rank them in order of importance. As we’ll explain below, not all air purifiers are designed to address all indoor air quality problems.


Some types of air purifiers actively clean indoor air, while others filter out pollutants. Some whole-home air purification systems combine both methods.

HEPA Filters

HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filters can capture particles of 0.3 microns with 99.97% efficiency. They can effectively filter out many common airborne allergens, including dust, pollen, and pet dander.


  • Quiet
  • Helpful for allergy sufferers
  • No harmful byproducts


  • Can allow viruses, bacteria, and VOC gases smaller than 0.3 microns to pass through
  • Doesn’t actively destroy or deactivate biocontaminants

Carbon Filters

Activated carbon is extremely absorbent and possesses chemical bonding properties. As a result, high-quality carbon filters can remove bad smells and multiple indoor air pollutants, including smoke and chemical fumes.



  • Doesn’t filter out dust or other allergens
  • Doesn’t actively destroy or deactivate biocontaminants


Ionizers make use of positive and negative charges to purify indoor air. They send out electrons, which attach to air molecules to form negatively charged ions. Those ions then attach to positively charged particles in your air and either bring them back to the system’s filter or allow them to drop to the ground where you can vacuum them.

High-quality systems, like the Carrier® Infinity® air purifier, prevent particles from dropping and escaping by using electrical charges to pull the particles back into the system, where they’re captured in an oppositely charged, pleated filter.


  • Quiet
  • Gets rid of smoke and toxic fumes
  • Can capture particles as small as 0.01 microns


  • Doesn’t remove bad smells
  • Lower-quality models won’t remove all particles from the room and can cause them to drop to the floor
  • Produces ozone in varying quantities*

*Before buying an ionizer, make sure the amount of ozone produced is below the FDA-approved limit for a healthy living space: 50 PPB (parts per billion). Otherwise, you could experience side effects associated with too much exposure to ozone, such as shortness of breath and coughing.

UV Light Air Purifiers

UV air purifiers use germicidal UV-C light to either kill or deactivate harmful contagions, such as viruses and bacteria. The light penetrates the germs and destroys their DNA or RNA, which renders the germs unable to reproduce and spread. UV air purifiers often contain both UV-C lamps and a filter for the purpose of not only eradicating biocontaminants but also filtering out allergens, chemical fumes, smoke, and other pollutants.


  • Quiet
  • Low maintenance
  • Actively kills viruses, bacteria, germs, mold spores, and other biocontaminants


  • Must be combined with a filter to eradicate dust, smoke, and non-organic allergens

Better Indoor Air Quality in Your Lexington Home

Our specialists at Comfort Experts Heating & Cooling can help you find the perfect indoor air quality solution to meet your needs. Give us a call at (803) 525-0074 or contact us online today!

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