Filter VS Filterless Air Purifier: Which One to Choose?

There are many types of air-cleaning devices in the market that can be overwhelming to navigate, but it usually boils down to these 2: filter-based VS filterless air purifiers. In this post, we will examine the dichotomy between the 2, so you will gain a deeper understanding of air purification as a whole. When the time comes to pull the trigger on a purchase, you will have a clear mindset on which one to pick. Let's start the comparison.


Airborne Contaminant Removal Effectiveness

When removing different types of airborne contaminants, each type of air purifier shines in its own way. For instance, HEPA filter excels at capturing microscopic particles, including dust mites, mold, pollen, pet dander, germs, bacteria, and viruses. A carbon filter is great at eliminating gaseous pollutants and odors like cigarette smoke, cooking smell, radon, and VOCs chemical fumes. Filterless technology like UV or TSS might silently eradicate pathogens and microbes from existence, but the efficiency is too slow to make a big impact. So, if dust and other large particles are the concern, it will be wise to opt for a filter-based air purifier.

Winner: Filter air purifier

Cost And Maintenance Comparison

The debate over filter-based versus filterless air purifiers always comes down to cost. The cost will always be a major factor for many consumers when purchasing an air purifier. Filterless air purifiers are more budget-friendly in the long term since you don’t have to shell out money for replacement filters forever. While filter-based air purifier cost adds up over time through filter replacement, it is not all doom and gloom. You can make your filter-based air purifier more cost-effective by opting for a long-lasting HEPA and carbon filter that will go on for at least a year. Another option is to go for a washable filter that can be reused multiple times. Reusable filter is typically less effective but can help cut costs considerably.

Winner: Filterless air purifier

The Dangers of Air Purification Byproducts

When it comes to air purification, the contaminants in the air aren’t the only thing to be wary of. Filter-based HEPA air purifiers are ozone-free when only mechanical filters are utilized. It is the safest air-cleaning technology and is commonly used in homes, offices, whole-house systems, factories, hospitals, and other medical centers. In general, filterless air purifiers are also perfectly safe for children and pets. Even though UV and ionic air purifiers produce ozone byproducts, the concentration amount is insignificant and will not cause any health risks.

There are some filterless models you want to avoid, like ozone generators or Ozonator that produce harmful ozone gas as a cleaning agent. Studies have shown that ozone emissions can cause a multitude of respiratory problems and worsen existing conditions, such as breathing difficulty, asthma attacks, and lung scarring.

If you’re considering getting filterless, always go through the user manual to understand the air cleaner’s technology and functionality. Inspect your unit’s authenticity to ensure it doesn’t release harmful levels of ozone. For the sake of your health and well-being, never bring an Ozonator or air purifier that mainly produces ozone into your home.

Winner: Filter air purifier

Do Filterless Air Purifiers Work

In Conclusion: Filter or Filterless?

Ultimately, it’s down to the air-cleaning technology, safety, cost-efficiency, and air performance. In most cases, a filter-based purifier will outperform a filterless one, regardless if it is an ionizer, UV, or heating thermodynamic TSS technology from Airfree. Even though filterless air purifiers are gaining traction for a good reason, they inherit more drawbacks than a conventional air purifier with a HEPA filter. Nonetheless, any form of air pollutant removal is better than nothing for those with preexisting conditions. Whichever you choose, use it to make the investment worth well.

Here are the pros and cons of a filterless air purifier to assist you in your buying journey.


  • Noiseless operation – Most filter-free air purifiers do not rely on a motor fan to draw air in hence is it completely silent during the entire operation. Without the noise distraction, you can run it all day in the bedroom, office, and living room.
  • Zero maintenance – Utilizing hassle-free filter-free technology like ionizer or UV-light that does not need cleaning. A standard filter requires interval upkeeping to remove the trapped contaminants like dust. Great for busy folks that do not have the time to maintain an air purifier.
  • Economical – Filter-free air cleaners are much cheaper compared with a HEPA air purifiers. You will save a lot of money in the long run without periodically replacing the HEPA and carbon filters.
  • Reliable and proven technology – Filterless air purifiers are safe to use around children, pets, allergies, and asthma sufferers.
  • Kill bacteria and viruses – Rather than trapping them in the filter. Technologies like UV light, Photocatalytic oxidation, and Thermodynamic sterilization eradicate microorganisms permanently with zero chance of escaping.
  • Energy-efficient – Filterless air purifier uses very little energy as no motor fan is involved. You can leave it running for days and will not see an increase in your electricity bill.
  • Sleeker design – Most air purifiers with no filter are compact and lightweight because it does not have to account for the filter space. Perfect if you have minimal interior space as it can fit on a bedstand or top of the cabinet.
  • Simple operation – Most filter-free air purifiers are just plug-and-play models with a dead simple control.


  • Limited options – There are not many options to choose from compared with filter-based HEPA air purifiers.
  • Single filtration – VS multiple filtrations found in an air purifier with HEPA filter that cover a wider range of airborne pollutants.
  • Weaker performance – In general, filterless air purifiers are less effective than HEPA air purifiers in removing large airborne particles and smoke. It is better suited for people with breathing difficulties or severe respiratory diseases.
  • Limited recognition – Only filter air purifiers are certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).

Filterless VS Filter Air Purifier Comparison Table

FeaturesAirfree Onix 3000
Filterless Air Purifier

Filter Air Purifier
PricingStarting from $40Starting from $60
Noiseless OperationYesNo
Zero MaintenanceYesNo
Ozone SafeYes (Except for ozone generator)Yes
FiltrationSingle (Active)Multiple (Passive)
Asthmatic SufferersSuitableSuitable
Kill Bacteria and VirusYesNo
One-touch OperationYesNo
Advanced HEPA filtrationNoYes

Max Fernandez

A loving father and a dedicated reviewer for airfuji.com with more than 1000 air purifiers under his belt. Max Fernandez is also one of the million patients currently suffering from asthma. Feel free to nudge him if you have any questions.
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