I have really bad allergies, and I am not a fan of them whatsoever. Whenever springtime comes around, all my friends get to fully enjoy the great weather and I, on the other hand, am left trying to get around all the allergic reactions I get with all the dust and pollen around.
At least that was the case until one of my friends suggested that I should try and buy a device to help free the air from all of the allergens that were causing me to suffer for months at a time.
His comment piqued my interest, and I started to conduct some more research to see what kind of device would be best for my needs.
During my research, I came across two particular devices – humidifiers and air purifiers.
And that got me thinking, which is the better unit for allergies during the spring and early summer months.
It’s been four years since I made the right choice and so, if you’re in the same position that I was four years ago, not knowing which type of device to go for to get rid of your allergies, keep on reading.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at both humidifiers and air purifiers to see exactly what they are and what the difference between them is.
After that, we’ll take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of both types of devices, and in the end, I’ll give you my honest opinion on which one I prefer for allergies and why.
A Look At Both Types of Air Purifying Devices
Before I go ahead and give an overview of these two devices, there’s one thing I have to say. I chose to omit the dehumidifier when talking about air purifying devices.
This is because while they are occasionally thrown into the conversation, the only air purifying devices that could possibly help with allergies are humidifiers and air purifiers.
So in this section, I’ve chosen to only compare these two types of devices. Without further ado, let’s take a look at both and see what they have to offer.
Humidifiers, as the name suggests, humidify the air.
While some people see them as a type of air purifier, this isn’t what they are, technically speaking.
This is because humidifiers aren’t equipped with any type of filtration system or something similar that can remove allergy triggers and particles from the air.
So, why do people say they help with allergies?
Well, this is because humidifiers introduce moisture into the air. When the air in the room is dry, it can irritate your nasal passages and leave them inflamed.
This causes allergy symptoms to worsen, which results in a lot of discomfort for people like myself.
But with moist air, your nasal passages stay hydrated, reducing the allergy symptoms you will experience. So, while they won’t exactly remove the particles triggering your allergies, you will be able to alleviate some of the major symptoms, which is a huge plus.
On the flip side, air purifiers are specifically equipped to filter out particles from the air. If the air in your room is dry, the purifier won’t do anything to help that.
At its most basic level, air purifiers are just fans and filters with no built-in features that can increase the humidity in the air.
Most modern air purifiers come equipped with HEPA filters. These are advanced mechanical filters made out of fiberglass built to capture incredibly small solid particles.
To do this, the fan blows unfiltered air through the filter, which then catches the different particles that can irritate your lungs and trigger an allergic reaction.
After that, the clean air is pushed through the other side of the air purifier and back into your room.
This is the main benefit of an air purifier. If you live in a polluted or dusty area, you can’t go without an air purifier.
Again, it won’t help if you’re struggling with dry air in the room, but it will do wonders for anyone that experiences severe allergies.
Humidifier vs Air Purifier: What’s the Difference?
These two devices are built for completely different purposes.
The humidifier is made to introduce moisture into the air while the air purifier is there to make the air cleaner. So, you can easily have both devices in your home and experience a range of benefits.
This is why it’s very important to look at the reason why you plan on buying one of these devices in the first place. For example, if you’ve been getting irritated by the low moisture levels in the air, then a humidifier is what you need.
However, if you have seasonal allergies and springtime is coming along, it might be about time for you to invest in a high-quality air purifier.
After doing the research, I wouldn’t say that one device is better than the other.
In fact, all of this information clearly showed me that these two machines are built for different people.
While there are some that would benefit more from an air purifier, there’s likely the same amount of people who would benefit from a humidifier instead.
Benefits of a Humidifier
At this point, you may be wondering why you would want to get a humidifier in the first place.
Well to start, I already discussed how it can alleviate allergy symptoms.
Again, this doesn’t mean that it removes allergens from the air.
Instead, all this machine does is introduce moisture into the air, which can hydrate your nasals which can then make the symptoms much easier to deal with.
With that said, that isn’t the only benefit of owning a humidifier. Here are a couple of other reasons you might want to invest in a modern humidifier for your home.
Can Prevent Influenza
There’s a study out there that suggests humidifiers can reduce your chances of catching influenza. This is possible because of the way influenza spreads. The influenza virus is introduced into the air when an infected individual sneezes or coughs. The particles then float in the air and enter another person’s lungs, which causes an infection.
However, the study showed that after the influenza virus was released into the humid air, a large chunk of the virus particles were deactivated. This means that other uninfected people in the room have a lower chance of getting infected.
One of the reasons a person can start snoring is because their airways aren’t lubricated.
When the airways are dry, you won’t be able to breathe properly, which causes people to snore. But if the air is humid and has enough moisture, the airways remain lubricated, which reduces snoring.
With that said, I have to note that there are some humidifiers that are pretty loud, which can make sleeping quite difficult for light sleepers.
If you plan on getting a humidifier so that you can reduce your snoring at home, I highly recommend investing in one of the quiet models on the market as you can easily leave them on all night without worrying about the noise keeping you up.
Makes for a “Productive” Cough
This is a fairly odd benefit, but it’s a true benefit of owning a humidifier.
If you live in an area where the air is dry, you will likely develop dry coughs.
These are the types of coughs that can hurt and damage your throat because you aren’t coughing out any phlegm.
But if the air is moist, then you won’t have that problem. This is because you’re only going to cough when there’s something sticky in your throat that you want to get rid of.
With moist air, you only cough to remove things in your throat, giving all your coughs a purpose.
Keeps Skin & Hair Moist
A lot of people may not notice this, but the air around them has a great effect on their hair and skin quality.
After all, if the air around you is dry, it should come as no surprise that this could cause your hair and skin to dry up as well. That’s why people living in dry areas tend to struggle with their hair and skin.
Again, a humidifier could be the fix you need for these issues. If you have a hard time maintaining a good skincare and haircare routine because of the air in your hometown, it could be time for you to start introducing more moisture into the air.
The Downside to Humidifiers
There isn’t really a “downside” to humidifiers.
But if you’re like me and you plan on getting a humidifier for allergies, then this may not be the best device.
Don’t get me wrong, if you get a humidifier, you will notice that your allergy symptoms aren’t as bad as they used to be.
However, you won’t be able to eliminate the allergic reactions completely.
This is because humidifiers are there to make the symptoms of your allergies much easier to deal with.
However, they don’t get down to the root cause of the problem, which is allergens like dust and pollen floating around the air.
That’s why humidifiers will only provide temporary relief for allergies.
If you want something that can reduce allergic reactions even more effectively, you need a device that targets the allergens themselves. And that’s when an air purifier starts to come in handy.
Benefits of an Air Purifier
After doing the research over four years ago, I learned that an air purifier would by far be the better investment for my allergies.
Again, there are other situations wherein a humidifier would be the better option, but not when it comes to allergies. Here are some of the main benefits of owning an air purifier.
Can Filter Out Tons of Solid Particles & Odors From the Air
There are two types of air purifiers on the market, those that can deal with solid particles and those that can deal with odors.
Some models are built to deal with either particles or odors while other more advanced models that feature multi-stage filtration systems are built to deal with both.
For capturing particles and reducing your allergies to a minimum, you want to look for an air purifier with a true HEPA filter.
This type of filter can catch 99.97% of all solid particles in the air including allergens. For gasses, cooking odor, and VOCs, you want to get an air purifier with an activated carbon filter.
Built With Many Modern Features
Another reason I decided to opt for an air purifier was that the newer models come with tons of features that make the units very easy and convenient to use.
For example, the air purifier I got came with an automatic sensor that could detect the number of particles in the air and adjust the purifier’s settings accordingly.
There are other air purifiers that come with smart mode as well. With this feature, you won’t have to get up to adjust your air purifier. This is a really cool feature and makes it much easier to have an air purifier at home.
With that said, these features aren’t exactly necessary but they are nice to have. I don’t like having to jump through hoops to deal with my allergies, which is why it’s great that I can just leave my air purifier on and the machine will do the rest.
Low Noise Operation
Even if air purifiers use a fan, motor, and mechanical filter, most modern models aren’t loud at all. Granted, you will never have an air purifier with zero-noise output.
However, since I enjoy sleeping with a bit of white noise in the background, the low hum was actually welcomed.
With that said, if you’re a sensitive sleeper, there are tons of air purifiers built for even quieter operation. Some of them even have a dedicated night mode where the air purifier will operate as quietly as possible to allow you to enjoy your sleep to the fullest.
The biggest benefit of modern air purifiers is that they are more flexible. For example, I originally bought my air purifier to deal with my allergies and it did the job really well.
However, even after springtime came and went, I found myself using the air purifier daily.
This is because I live in a fairly polluted area, and the air purifier can do a great job at ensuring I inhale as few pollutants as possible.
When you get your first air purifier, you’ll start to realize how nice it is to regularly be breathing in clean and purified air. In fact, when I got my first air purifier, I immediately determined that there was no way I could go back to life without it.
And if dry air is a problem for you, there’s a high chance you can find an air purifier with a built-in humidifier to kill two birds with one stone.
But at the end of the day, air purifiers offer a wide range of benefits, and you won’t want to miss out on grabbing one of the highly sophisticated modern models on the market today.
The Downside to Air Purifiers
The one thing I didn’t like about air purifiers is that finding the right option was hard. This is because there are simply so many brands and manufacturers that make good air purifiers that I found it almost impossible to choose.
As I mentioned earlier, I did a lot of research to figure out whether or not I should get a humidifier or an air purifier. And when I finally decided on the purifier, it took even longer for me to go through the different options and determine the best ones for my needs.
On top of that, air purifiers can get pretty expensive.
However, you can rest assured that whatever you spend on your air purifier will be more than worth it.
If you’d like to shop for an air purifier on a budget, don’t hesitate to check out the guide I wrote on the best budget-friendly air purifiers for 2.5 particles.
Allergies fall into that category so do make sure to give it a read.
Which Device Is Better for Allergies?
Before I did my research, I had no clue which device would be the better investment for me and my own needs.
However, once I learned what these two devices did and which types of people they were for, it wasn’t too hard to come to a decision.
Since air purifiers were adept at capturing the particles that were causing my allergies, there was no doubt that the air purifier was the better pick for me.
However, there are also tons of reasons you may want to get a humidifier instead.
For example, if allergies aren’t your problem but you want to deal with the dry air at home, then a humidifier is exactly what you need.
With that said, keep in mind that these devices won’t do anything when it comes to the particles floating in your home.
If you were to ask me, I would always recommend an air purifier over a humidifier. But if you find that you need a humidifier more, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t get one!