June 1, 2020
 | 
By Mark Paup

What’s The Difference Between an Air Filter & an Air Cleaner?

Updated January 22, 2024

With the amount of time, Americans have been spending indoors lately, Golden Rule decided to devote several recent blog entries to the importance of indoor air quality. However, with all the IAQ products available on the market today, it can sometimes be difficult to understand the terminology. This is why many people are left wondering, “What’s the difference between an air filter and an air cleaner?”

The Difference Between Air Filters & Air Cleaners:

  • Air Filters: When you hear HVAC and indoor air quality professionals talk about air filters, more often than not they are talking about the filters in your heating and cooling system, which use fiberglass or other materials to trap dust and various unwanted particulates. The effectiveness of these filters will depend on their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV rating. The higher the MERV rating, the more effective your air filter will be. However, you may also hear technicians talk about high-efficiency particulate air or HEPA filters. These filters are known for trapping 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in diameter, though some homeowners prefer not to use them since they have been known to restrict airflow. “But how do you use a HEPA filter in your home anyway?”, you may be asking. This brings us to…
  • Air Cleaners: The term “air cleaner” is often used interchangeably with “air purifier.” However, one important distinction is that air cleaners tend to use HEPA filters or other kinds of filters to remove dust and particles from your air. These devices are powered by a fan and provide an additional level of filtration for your existing HVAC system and the entire house. Air purifiers, on the other hand, use an electric charge to collect particles on a plate as they pass through the device. Purifiers tend to be better at getting rid of biological contaminants, though they are less effective at reducing dust. To put it simply, an air filter is what powers an air cleaner. An air cleaner is a device you use to reduce particulates in your home’s air. While air cleaners and purifiers are both parts of the larger indoor air quality family, the use of filtration is the key difference.

Golden Rule Is Here for All Your Indoor Air Quality Needs

You can trust our indoor air quality experts at Golden Rule when it comes to all the best IAQ products available. Contact us today to get quality air cleaners, as well as UV lights, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers. With our excellent special promotions and discounts for military members and first responders, we make it easy to get the products and services you need at a price you can afford.

Call Golden Rule now at 515-393-4526, or contact us online.

Contact Us Today for Indoor Air Quality Service!


If you found this post helpful, learn more about Indoor Air Quality tips:



Decoding Static Pressure in HVAC Systems
Decoding Static Pressure in HVAC Systems: A Homeowner’s Guide Hey there, homeowners! Why might your heating or cooling system feel like it’s not hitting the mark? It... Read More
How to choose the right HVAC system for your home
Hey there, homeowner! Are you tired of sweating in the summer and freezing in the winter? It’s time to tackle the challenge of finding the perfect HVAC... Read More
DAIKIN DM96VC Whole Home Gas Furnace
As a homeowner, ensuring your home is equipped with reliable heating solutions is paramount for comfort and efficiency. Among the myriad options available, the DAIKIN DM96VC Whole... Read More